Monday, February 19, 2018
Public safety

Runaway teen from Palmetto returns home safely

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Authorities say the Palmetto teen girl who was missing for most of the day returned home safely Tuesday night. They did not release any other details about the case.

Manatee County authorities are seeking the public's help in the search for a missing high school girl who may be in the Tampa Bay area.

Karli Smith, 15, of Palmetto, was last seen just before 8 a.m. Tuesday when her mother dropped her off at Palmetto High School, police spokesman Lt. Scott Tyler said.

A few hours later, her mother called to check on Karli at school and found out she'd left campus, officials said.

Then, the family found a note Karli left, which said she was leaving and on her way to "New Port Richey or Georgia."

Authorities have not issued an Amber Alert, but say they are concerned because Karli also left writings that indicated she may hurt herself.

The teen is white with straight brown hair, green eyes and a medium build. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds. She may be wearing a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) uniform or red shorts and a white T-shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call Palmetto police at (941) 723-4587.

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