Monett teens returned home safely

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Sisters Olivia Bailey, left, and Tori Bailey were returned home safely after a two-day search involving the Monett Police Department, FBI and Highway Patrol. Contributed photo

Sisters returned to Monett by family members

About two days after issuing the endangered missing persons advisories, sisters Olivia Bailey, 15, and Tori Bailey, 14, both of Monett, have been returned home safely by a family member.

According to Sgt. Jerry Harrison, with the Monett Police Department, the girls ran away from home on May 24, and Wednesday, information came to light suggesting the girls were in danger, prompting the advisories.

"It's too soon to say where they were, and we have to see for ourselves that they are fine," he said. "Det. David Haskins reported they had been returned."

Monett police received help from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Missing Persons Unit in finding the Bailey sisters, knocking on doors and searching throughout the Nevada and El Dorado Springs areas.

"We had great help from the FBI, the Highway Patrol and lots of local law enforcement," Harrison said. "The media was also instrumental in getting this case cleared."

Harrison said because of the limited manpower in Monett, FBI and other law enforcement help proved to be extremely valuable.

"It was like a force multiplier," he said. "We sent out all the folks we could, but we are limited in duration and personnel. So, some guys were sent to knock on doors, and the FBI sent out a lot of guys on Thursday. The Highway Patrol also helped us coordinate with the local media."

Before being returned home today, the girls were last seen at the Monett YMCA at about 2:30 p.m. on May 24, and Harrison said investigators received information on Wednesday leading them to believe the girls may be in danger and traveling with known Southwest Honkey gang members.

Harrison said police did not notify media of the initial runaway report because procedure does not call for such measures for runaways.

"I picked up this case on Wednesday and found some more information that led us down [the] path [to file endangered missing persons advisories]," he said. "We get runaways almost on a daily basis, and we try to get them back as quickly as we can. Once it rises to an endangered missing person, different laws and priorities kick in, and we have got to get them back."

Harrison said the girls' whereabouts and activities over the past couple weeks is unclear.

"Any actions that may of occurred would have occurred outside of our area," he said.

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