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Police Chief: Missing Bradford, Vt., Teenager Has Been Found

  • Melissa Burgess



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, October 14, 2016

Bradford, Vt. — A 14-year-old Oxbow High School student who was reported missing on Wednesday has been found safe.

Bradford Police Chief Jeffrey Stiegler said Melissa Burgess was located in a neighboring community around 10 a.m. on Thursday.

“She is home and she is safe,” Stiegler said in a telephone interview.

He classified Burgess as a runaway.

Media reports about Burgess’ disappearance, coupled with tips from area residents about her potential whereabouts, helped crack the case, the chief said.

Though he couldn’t delve into details, he said one specific tip from the public led police to Burgess. She was briefly taken into custody and brought home to her family.

She was not in danger when she was found, he said, and she did not resist arrest.

“I think she knew that she was someplace where she wasn’t supposed to be,” the chief said.

At this time, Stiegler said, he can’t comment on where she was found or who she was with. He also couldn’t divulge whether charges may be pending.

He said he plans to speak with the Orange County State’s Attorney’s Office, as well as other agencies, including the Department for Children and Families, which is required by law, he said. He also plans to meet with the superintendent to bring the school “up to speed.”

He said he was relieved the teen was found within the 24-hour period of when she was reported missing.

“When you go by that window, it gets really scary, especially when no one has heard anything,” Stiegler said.

A family member had last seen Burgess inside her home around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

When that family member woke up, the teen was nowhere to be found.

Initial reports indicated Burgess could be with an adult male neighbor. The chief declined to say whether she was found with that individual.

Burgess was the second Upper Valley teenager to be reported missing this month.

Thursday marked one week since the disappearance of 17-year-old Weathersfield resident Autumn Sanville. Her family has not has seen or heard from her since.

Police on Wednesday said the Springfield High School junior also might have run away. She was last seen around 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 6, getting into an older-model maroon-colored car with three other people near the Springfield, Vt., boat landing, police said.

Her parents are pleading for any information that could lead to her return. Anyone with information on Sanville’s whereabouts is asked to call Vermont State Police at 802-722-4600.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.