Police explain concern for missing 13-year-old girl
Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Marianna McCauley hasn't been seen since Saturday afternoon.
The 13-year-old's mother tells Channel 3 Marianna got into an argument with her sister and then disappeared.
Marianna moved from Nashville about a month ago.
Her mother says she's run away before, but always comes back.
Chattanooga police detectives are actively searching for teenager.
Monday, her mother spoke with detectives again and officials at Marianna's school.
She now believes her daughter might have been manipulated into running away.
Detectives believe McCauley could be with older adult males.
While we don't know if these men are tied to gangs, detectives say they portray themselves as "gangsters" and "thugs" on Facebook.
"I think she's been manipulated in some way," says Ty Whitmire, Marianna's mother.
Ty Whitmire is beside herself with worry as she and her husband visited the juvenile court building.
"I'm going to file an unruly, runaway petition so that when they find her they'll hold her long enough so that I can get her some professional help," says Whitmire.
A short text message from Marianna early Monday morning did bring some comfort.
"She doesn't think she's in any danger. She trusts these people because she has been talking to them on her Facebook page," says Whitmire.
But new information from police and Marianna's school still leaves plenty of room for worry.
"They're tracking people down now and they think it's an adult male that she's in the company with," says Whitmire.
Marianna's mom shut down her Facebook page five weeks ago.
Police spoke with some of her friends and found out who she's been hanging out with.
"Thug type, ones that certainly me or any other parent wouldn't want their children to be associated with," says Whitmire.
Police haven't said who they are looking for, but did tell Channel 3 they portray themselves as "thugs" or "gangsters".
Marianna's mother now thinks her daughter could have been enticed to runaway.
"I think they'd been talking to her about this for a long," says Whitmire.
The Chattanooga Police Department is working runaway cases.
We wanted to know why police are taking this case so seriously.
They say it's because of Marianna's age and the people she's hanging around.
Marianna is 5'2 and weighs about 135 pounds.
She has long hair and braces.
If you have any information on where Marianna could be, you are asked to call Chattanooga police at 423-698-2525.