Two days after the 13-year-old Utah teen went missing, Brooklyn Gittins has been found. But the circumstances are so mysterious, this story is far from over. Brooklyn had been last seen going to bed wearing a gray t-shirt and black pajama pants. By morning she was gone, and she'd left behind her glasses and her cellphone.
Over 500 volunteers showed up to help search for the girl. And then, at 11:30 last night, she called her grandparents to let them know she'd been dropped off at a Walmart. The found her, unharmed and in those same pajamas but without even shoes or a coat. (It's cold and snowy in Utah.) What on Earth happened?!?
Apparently Brooklyn tried to run away once over the summer, but she soon returned. Was this another attempt? Police say the circumstances in this case are totally different from the summer. In fact, Lieutenant Justin Hoyal of Salt Lake Unified Police suspects Brooklyn was being held against her will.
We believe that she did leave her house on Tuesday evening, and somebody picked her up and harbored her for the last two and a half days. We're going to investigate. She's 13 years old, and for someone to hold her is wrong. We'll do everything to find the person and bring [that person] to justice.
So there's a lot the police still aren't saying. Maybe Brooklyn sneaked out to meet someone, not expecting to be gone long. Maybe the person involved was someone she knew. It's just really weird.
But the part that really creeps me out is how this story reminds me of what happened to Elizabeth Smart. She was just a year older when she was kidnapped right out of her bed and dragged into the outdoors to live as the second "wife" to a deranged self-proclaimed prophet. It's amazing that she was found and rescued -- and that she's a strong, confident woman who has found peace now.
It's unlikely that this was a copycat kidnapping. Almost all incidents like this involve a family member or a boyfriend. But whatever happened, it sounds like there's been a lot of trouble brewing in this straight-A student's life. I hope the police are able to find whoever was behind her disappearance.
What do you think really happened to Brooklyn Gittins?
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