This daughter has some serious explaining to do. Rachel Natacha Owens, who was last seen getting into a mystery car outside her school five years ago, has just been found living under a new identity.
(Image Credits: CBS News, Youtube, FBI)
Aged just 15 in 2011, Rachel vanished without a trace, leading to a massive nation-wide search operation with a $5,000 reward attached. Police say she disappeared “on her own will” and went to “great lengths to intentionally conceal her whereabouts.” But why?
Surveillance footage from security cameras at South Brunswick High School in North Carolina show Rachel getting off her school bus and getting into a small and dark-colored car in the parking lot. That was the last time anybody in the small town had seen Rachel before vanishing for 5 years. While clearly floored by this act, her parents had seen the all warning signs. Rachel had run away before, however had always returned within a couple days. This time, Rachel wanted to be gone for good.
During the investigation, investigators found a story she wrote before disappearing in which she expressed a desire to travel to Mexico. Whats more, her friends also told investigators they had heard that Rachel went to Mexico. At one point, investigators stated that she may be with a Hispanic man who is older and works in construction. As a result, the FBI along with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, worked tirelessly around several leads in both the U.S. and Mexico, FBI Special Agent Rich Novelli said. But the investigations were going nowhere.
The FBI had even offered a $5,000 reward for any information in Rachel's disappearance. After years of coming up empty handed, both parents and investigators began to lose hope. ‘If Rachel sees this or someone that is associated with Rachel sees this — her family just wants to know that she’s okay, her family just wants her to know that they miss her and they love her,’ Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Candi West said on behalf of Rachel’s parents, Kenneth and Kathy Owens. But at last, in 2014, the FBI received a tip that would lead to a huge breakthrough in the investigation.
After a tough 5-year investigation, the FBI finally cracked it. Around noon on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, investigators found Rachel, now 21-years-old, living in Columbus, Ohio, over 600 miles away from where she was last spotted. "Sheriff John Ingram, along with investigators from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, is delighted to announce that Rachel Natacha Owens has been located and is safe," the release from sheriff's office spokeswoman Emily Flax said. But when they finally located her, investigators could barely recognize her.
Rachel gave herself a new name, dyed her hair and even used a false date of birth before she was discovered by the FBI. The police stated that Rachel, “went to great lengths to intentionally conceal her whereabouts, even assuming a false identity and date of birth,” WNCN news reported. But why take such extreme measures? What was she running from?