Tennessee teen missing since 2019 found safe in Alabama

Tennessee News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tennessee teenager missing since 2019 has been found safe in Alabama after investigators said she was pulled over while driving herself and her dog to the beach.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday morning that 18-year-old Daphne Westbrook, missing from Hamilton County since Oct. 2019, was located in Samson, Alabama.

“It came as a complete surprise,” Hamilton County District Attorney General’s Office Special Projects Investigator Kerry Clewell said. “Here’s finally evidence that she’s alive and well.”

Samson Police Chief Jimmy Hill told News 2 his officers were on patrol around 1 a.m. and stopped a vehicle with a broken tail light and an expired, out-of-state tag.

When the driver’s license was run through the National Crime Information Center, Hill said they discovered the lone person in the vehicle was Daphne Westbrook, the teen at the center of an Endangered Child Alert in Tennessee.

“She was going to the beaches is what she said and she was happy and had her dog with her,” the chief explained.

Clewell said after speaking with Daphne in Alabama Friday morning she explained she was driving from New Mexico where she was with her father to Florida to visit family.

“She turned 18 and she went to him and she said I need money and a car and I’m getting out of here,” Clewell said.

An AMBER Alert had been issued earlier this year for Daphne, who was 17 at the time, after her father John Westbrook was indicted on multiple charges, including aggravated kidnapping.

At the time, the TBI said Daphne did not return home from a visit with Westbrook, who does not have custody.

Daphne & John Westbrook (Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Agents said they believed John Westbrook may have traveled to the western part of the country with Daphne and had contacts in Colorado, New Mexico, California and Washington.

The TBI issued an Endangered Child Alert under the Holly Bobo Act for Daphne on May 23 because she had since turned 18.

Clewell said since she’s of age Daphne was able to drive off and continue with her plans to visit Florida.

“Now that we know she’s safe and away from him, she went on about her way,” Clewell said.

John Westbrook has not been located, according to investigators. But with the information from Daphne that he’s in New Mexico, Clewell said police will still search for him in that state.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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