New York police have discovered two teenage girls who went missing almost a year ago, according to authorities. KyLea Fortner and Shaeleen Fitch-Fortner were reported missing in 2015, according to the New York State Police.
Authorities said the teenagers, who are sisters, had been living with a foster family at the time. State police discovered the sisters on Wednesday night in Vestal, which is about 15 miles from where they were last seen.
Twenty nine-year-old Amanda Hellman was arrested by police. She was charged with second-degree kidnapping and is being held in the Broome County Jail without bail, says The Huffington Post.
According to New York State Police, Hellman is a family acquaintance. But they did not provide any intimate details of Hellman’s relationship to the victims.
The girls were 15 and 13 years of age, when they were first reported as missing. Police discovered them alive in Vestal after an 11-month investigation, according to The Washington Post.
The state police came across and investigated several investigative leads in relation to the girl’s location. They said that they developed information that implied the girls were in the home.
A neighbour in Vestal remembered noticing one of the teens outside. The neighbour, Randy Wike, told that he didn’t suspect any issues.
“They didn’t seem to be under duress at all, they seemed comfortable with the arrangement … they’d go prancing down the street,” Wike said.
Wike also stated that there wasn’t any hint of abduction, which they could figure out.
“For all of us, I think 11 months goes by and you think you are never going to see them again or you think the worst, but police didn’t give up,” said Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell.
“State Police knew that they were going to keep working the case and keep working leads and talking to people and they didn’t give up.”
There is no inkling that the girls were kept against their will, says Cornwell. However, the girls were kept in the defendant’s house without their legal consent.
Family services officials took responsibility of the girls, according to the state police.