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Mariah Richards

Thirteen-year-old Mariah Richards was released unharmed and is back in the arms of her parents.

This was confirmed by acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob during the TTPS media briefing on Friday morning.

He did not disclose what happened when Mariah left her home on Monday morning supposedly to buy bread at a nearby parlour, but he did appeal to parents to monitor their children’s interaction on social media.

Just Thursday, Mariah’s father Devon Richards had appealed to the people who had his daughter not to harm her and return her home or drop her off somewhere.

Twenty four hours later Mariah was dropped off in Belmont.

Richards left his daughter home preparing for online school and dropped his wife to at work in Princes Town on Monday morning. When he returned to their home at Monkey Town, New Grant, she was not there. He went to the parlour and grocery but no one saw her.

He then made a report at the Tableland Police Station.

Sometime later Mariah’s mother got two phone calls from a blocked number. The male caller told her they had Mariah, but they picked up the wrong person and would either drop her home later that day or the following day.

Several searches were carried out by family and friends.

During the TTPS press briefing yesterday, Jacob said he just got word that Mariah was found and was with the Child Protection Unit in Belmont.

He said, “I just want to make this plea to parents and to all young persons in relation to the use of the social media, the use of Facebook, and interacting, making arrangements with persons who we do not know. Parents need to look in to see what their children are on the computer. It is creating serious difficulties. The Child Protection Unit will indicate how many instances we have where young persons are being advised and coerced in different ways which end up in unfortunate situations. So again be very, very careful with the use of social media.”

Jacob added that there were instances where adults were also being lured into different areas through social media and robbed.

He said, “We had several situations like that and they are going into places which are high risk, and some persons in some instances even have lost their lives. So again we just want to put out that warning in relation to the use of the media.”

Thankful that Mariah was safe, Jacob said the police are conducting inquiries into the incident. When Guardian Media contacted her father he was grateful that his daughter was found.

He believes that the people who with his daughter had heard his appeal and released his daughter without hurting her.

He was thankful for all the assistance and support he received after his daughter went missing. Investigations are continuing.