Missing Findlay teen's family, friends 'heartbroken'
Police are searching for a Findlay teen who didn't return home after telling her father that she was going to see a movie.
Hailey Phillips, 16, was last seen Friday morning, when she left the home of a Bellevue man, said Findlay police Officer Patrick Zilles.
Police interviewed the man and don't consider him a suspect. They do not suspect foul play at this point.
“She's a smart, beautiful 16-year-old,” said her father, Sean Phillips, 33. “She has a bright future. We're all heartbroken for her right now, and we'd like her to be home as soon as possible.”
Hailey Phillips told her father that she would see a movie Thursday with friends in Robinson but ended up staying with the man in Bellevue. He told police he asked her to leave the next morning when he went to work. He said he gave the teen some money and she left, Zilles said.
She called her friend, Abby O'Leary, 15, of Oakdale from the man's cell phone about 9:30 a.m.
“She was talking, but she wasn't really speaking clearly,” O'Leary said. “I couldn't really understand what she was saying. I said, ‘Hailey where are you?' She said she was in Bellevue. And I said, ‘You need to get home; people are worried about you.' ”
Hailey Phillips sounded like she had just awakened but did not sound upset, O'Leary said.
“It's weird that I haven't got a call from her and she's not coming home,” O'Leary said. “I really don't know where she could be.”
Hailey Phillips ran away from home before but stayed with friends and was easy to find, Sean Phillips said.
“I don't want to say it, but I just have a bad feeling that she's used up her ninth life on this one and somebody's got her,” Sean Phillips said. “She just doesn't have the street smarts to get out of situations that she might get herself into.”
Pittsburgh police checked a possible sighting in the North Side on Tuesday, but it didn't pan out, Zilles said.
Hailey Phillips doesn't have a cell phone or credit cards, making her difficult to track electronically, the Findlay officer said.
“She is very small and vulnerable, and we're getting a little concerned now because she's never been away this long before,” Zilles said.
Sean Phillips works for Gillece. The business is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the girl's location. The company worked with Lamar Advertising to put up billboards about her disappearance. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call Findlay police at 724-695-1300.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.