Saturday, July 20, 2024

North Carolina teen missing more than 5 years, Rachel Owens, found living in Ohio

Rachel Natacha Owens has been known to frequently change her hair color. Photos provided by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
Rachel Natacha Owens has been known to frequently change her hair color. Photos provided by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Missing teenager Rachel Natacha Owens was found safe Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

An initial investigation has revealed Owens, who went missing more than five years ago, went to “great lengths” on her own accord to stay hidden, according to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office

“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,” Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax said through a news release on Friday.

Owens, now 21, was located at around noontime Friday. She was reported missing on May 5, 2011, after being seen getting off her school bus at South Brunswick High School in Boiling Spring Lakes. She was 15 at the time she disappeared.

“There is no foul play in Rachel’s disappearance,” Flax said. “No charges will be pursued, at this time.”

According to the investigation, Owens left North Carolina and remained away on her own will.  

The FBI had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to Owens and a potential captor, noting on its website that she may have been seen in Columbus, Ohio, as recently as 2014. 

“Investigators have learned that she went to great lengths to intentionally conceal her whereabouts, even assuming a false identity and date of birth,” Flax said. 

Sheriff Ingram and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office are extremely grateful to all of those who submitted tips and leads to detectives that ultimately led to finding Rachel. 

Rachel Natacha Owens has been missing since May 2011.
Missing North Carolina teen Rachel Natacha Owens was located Friday in Ohio. She has been missing since May 2011.

The sheriff’s office thanked Investigator Brett Peachey with the Westerville, Ohio Police Department; Investigator Brian Marvin with the Reynoldsburg, Ohio Police Department; Investigator Darren Smith with the Powell, Ohio Police Department; and agents with the FBI Cincinnati Field Office.

“Each of these individuals are members of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force in Columbus,” Flax said. “Sheriff Ingram would also like to especially thank agents with the FBI Charlotte Field Office, Wilmington RA, who were instrumental in helping to locate Rachel.”

Watch a Port City Daily video of the missing teen case published in June 2014:

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