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FOX 13 News
Advisory issued for missing Roosevelt teen; person of interest named
By Jeff Tavss,
It’s now been over forty hours since 13-year-old Rylie Secrest was last seen leaving her Roosevelt home early Tuesday morning.
The Utah Department of Public Safety sent out an Endangered Missing Advisory for the 13-year-old who was last seen walking out of her house between 5 and 5:30 a.m.
According to the advisory, friends said Secrest was in contact with a 25-year-old from Florida and received a Facebook message around the time of her disappearance that said, "I'm waiting."
Investigators have named Justin Woodruff as a a person of interest. Woodruff is from the Washington area, but Secrest had told friends that she was going to Florida with a male.
"Probably the worst thing that you can ever imagine as a parent. You lay there and think all night what’s going on, where’s she at and who’s she with," said Johnny Secrest, Rylie's father.
The FBI and several other agencies are now working the case.
"There has been some conversation with some of her friends who suggest that she had someone she met online. That's the extent of it," said Chief Mark Watkins with the Roosevelt City Police Department. "There is some credibility there, but nothing we can sink our teeth into as of yet. Like I said there have been a couple leads that have come up late last night and this morning, that I won’t expand upon at the moment until we confirm but that could help us quite a bit."
Rylie Secrest's father, Johnny, talks with FOX 13 News below
Secrest, who has red hair, is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds.
"I know everybody says this. You see it and you know it happens, but in a place out here you know you assume that's not gonna happen out here," said Secrest.
On Wednesday night, friends and family of the Secrests gathered at Constitution Park for a ‘Hope for Rylie’ candlelight vigil.
“This isn’t just a typical runaway,” said a pastor speaking on behalf of the family. “We believe she was lured under false pretenses and was taken.”
At the vigil, speakers shared that Rylie left her phone before she left home. The family gave the phone over to police in hopes it’ll help with the investigation.
“It may seem we are here because of a terrifying, scary time in Rylie’s and the Secrest family’s life,” said the pastor. “We are not here because of fear. We are here because we have hope.”
Hours before the vigil, Rylie’s neighbors tied green ribbons around Constitution Park in honor of her favorite color.
“I just can’t imagine what their family’s going through right now and any way that we can show support to them feels important to me,” said Renee Williams.
Williams said her daughter is friends with Rylie.
“I don’t want my kids to even be on the Internet. It scares me a lot,” she said. “I had to come home yesterday and give my kids a big hug.”
As each hour passes, the waiting doesn’t get easier, but the Roosevelt community and the Secrest family are hopeful they’ll see Rylie home soon.
“We are looking for you. We will never stop,” said Secrest. “We will find you somewhere. If you notify anybody or make it to where someone knows you are in trouble, do it. We need you home. I need my baby home.”
An AMBER Alert will be issued if police can gather definitive evidence that she has been abducted.
The Roosevelt Police Department told FOX 13 News they’ll release the latest updates of the investigation Thursday morning.
Anyone with information on Secrest's whereabouts is urged to call Roosevelt police at 435-722-2330 or Central Dispatch at 435-722-4558.