Missing Langley teenager Amanda McPhee was found, safe and sound, on Friday afternoon.
The 16-year-old, who disappeared from her Brookswood home on June 12, was spotted late in the day, riding a transit bus in Langley.
Crystal Peter, 20, of Langley, noticed McPhee on the bus near Willowbrook Shopping Centre. She immediately recognized her, from the posters all over town and the Facebook postings about the missing Langley teen.
McPhee was last seen by her mother at her Brookswood home on Saturday, June 11, and was missing when her mother checked on her the next morning.
After spotting McPhee, Peter checked on her iPhone to be sure that the girl she was looking at was indeed the missing teen. She then texted her mother, asking her to call police. The two got off the bus at the same time and Peter spoke to McPhee, asking her if she was indeed the missing teen. She said she was.
Police arrived soon afterwards.
RCMP Sergeant Peter Thiessen confirmed she was found on a Langley City bus shortly after 5 p.m.
“She was alone, she was unharmed, she seemed to be safe. At this point we have reunited her with her family and we’re trying to make some determination as to where she’s been for the last five days, why she did not make contact with anyone and what those circumstances are all about,” Thiessen said.
Earlier Friday, the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced it had taken over the search for the straight-A student.
Thiessen was quick to add the involvement of homicide police didn’t mean investigators believe the 16-year-old McPhee met with foul play.
“There’s nothing sinister [suspected]” Thiessen told reporters at a press briefing at Langley RCMP headquarters.
However, Thiessen also said the McPhee case was considered a “high risk” missing person case because she had been gone for almost a week and took “minimal” personal possessions. He said IHIT was called in because it has the resources and expertise to handle complex investigations.
More than 30 officers were involved in the search, Thiessen said, concentrating on parks and wooded trails because those were places she liked to visit.
Bev McPhee, an aunt of the Grade 11 Langley Christian High student, said Mandy’s father, Mike, was searching the Alouette Lake area in a helicopter whose pilot has volunteered his time.
Her mother, Wendy, was searching trails, woodland and rights-of-way.
Alouette Lake is Mandy’s favourite place, the aunt told The Times.
Parents from Mandy’s school, Langley Christian High School, were also out searching.
“This is helping the rest of us,” Peter said about McPhee being found.
“This (her disappearance) had scared a lot of teenagers in Langley.”
Peter is glad to have played a role in ending the drama.
– with files from Frank Bucholtz, Natasha Jones and Brenda Anderson