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Los Angeles police detectives found and reunited a Boyle Heights teen with her family after she had been missing for nearly two weeks, the girl’s sister confirmed Friday afternoon.
Michelle Giselle Lopez, 15, disappeared on Oct. 12 after being dropped off for class at Downtown Magnets High School.
Hollenbeck Division detectives, whose area includes Los Angeles’ Eastside, called Lopez’s mother on Wednesday evening and reunited the mother with her daughter at the station, according to the girl’s sister, Nataly Jaqueline Arias, 27.
“It’s been a crazy last few days and we were finally able to sleep yesterday,” Arias said. “We finally feel like she’s safe and resting.”
Since the reunion, the family has spent the last couple of days at the home of a relative outside of Los Angeles County and avoiding media contact, Arias said.
“We want to try our best to make her feel like her old self,” Arias said of Michelle. “She’s starting to eat again and talk and feel more and more like that.”
Arias said Michelle hasn’t shared what happened since she went missing on Oct. 12. On that day, Michelle’s mother arrived on campus to pick up her son, Carlos, and Michelle at 3 p.m. but never met up with her daughter. The mother filed a missing person report that day.
Arias also said that detectives have provided no details on what may have occurred.
An LAPD spokesperson only confirmed that Michelle had been found and returned to family members, but said no other information about the search was available.
Police Cmdr. Lillian L. Carranza, of the Central Division, tweeted that Hollenbeck investigators “exhausted every lead until the [missing] person was located and safely returned to the family.”
Arias said that her sister was likely “going to need a lot of therapy” and that the family was working to “give her everything she needs.”
Early in the week, Arias expressed frustration with the lack of progress in the case.
She thanked members of the public and media for “pressuring the authorities to finally follow every lead.”
“Without that support, I don’t know how much attention this story would have got,” Arias said.
The family created a GoFundMe account earlier this week that Arias previously said would be used to hire a private investigator. The account raised more than $5,300 and was disabled.
The family said the money would now be used to provide Michelle with “therapy and any resources she may need to overcome this ordeal.”
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