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Missing teen found

Staff writer

The search for 17-year-old Tara Simhiser, of Lehigh, ended around noon Thursday when law enforcement found her in Brown County in northeast Kansas.

“She is fine. She is OK,” Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft said. “She is somewhat nervous, scared. It’s a lot of emotions for a young lady.”

Her parents, Bill and Becky Simhiser, were contacted with the news.

“I’m relieved that she’s safe, and I really miss her,” Becky Simhiser said Thursday before being reunited with her daughter. “I just can’t wait to see her.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ for all the prayers,” she added.

Tara Simhiser was reported missing around 3 p.m. Tuesday. It was reported that she left with 21-year-old Rojelio “Roy” Cruz Hernandez, of Texas. He was arrested on charges relating to the incident.

Simhiser was found when someone at a bank recognized her from news reports and called law enforcement. Police interviewed the caller and found Simhiser at the bank. Police found Hernandez in a car in the vicinity.

Craft said details remained sketchy about the incident. It remained unclear Thursday whether the teenager went willingly with Hernandez.

A deputy was sent to Brown County to bring Simhiser home. He said she would be released to her parents after an interview with someone from the department.

Craft described Simhiser as cooperative.

“I’m relieved, happy, glad for her that she is safe,” he said.

Amber Alert does its job

Simhiser was found with help of the Amber Alert system.

When someone 17 years old or younger is missing, and law enforcement believe the missing person is in danger of serious harm or death, an Amber Alert may be issued.

Participating radio and television stations broadcast information to the public that may help an effort to locate the child.

Law enforcement issued an alert regarding Simhiser at 5:29 p.m. Wednesday.

The alert helped find her; the person that reported seeing her in Brown County had seen a news report regarding her disappearance.

Craft thinks law enforcement officers wouldn’t have found Simhiser as quickly without the Amber Alert system.

“It worked great,” he said.

Last modified Oct. 23, 2009

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