A 16-year-old girl is missing after she reportedly texted friends saying she thought someone was following her - and never made it to school.
Police say there is no evidence of foul play in the disappearance of Marley McKenna Spindler and are appealing for information on her whereabouts.
The teenager was last seen driving away from a Chick-Fil-A in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina around 7.30am on August 20.
Instead of going straight to school, she told her friends she was going to pick up a male friend named Jeremy.
But an hour later, she texted friends in a group message and told them she was being followed, but they thought she was joking, NBC News reported.
She failed to make it to Socastee High School, where she was due to start her junior year, but her friends didn't alert authorities in case she was skipping class.
"They are also teenagers and didn't want to tattle on their friend if she was cutting school," her aunt, Shelley Long, told NBC. "They didn't think anything bad had happened. But now we're all scared."
When her dad called her cellphone later that afternoon, it was answered by a hotel clerk who said it had been found in their parking lot.
Police said they believe she is likely alone and there is no evidence of foul play. They have identified Jeremy and he has been cleared of any involvement, they said.
Surveillance footage also shows her visiting her bank, where she withdrew less than $100, police said.
"She's 16, she's very young and maybe she didn't intend to get in a bad situation, but may find herself in one now," said Long. "We can't rule out that she was abducted, but we also have to face that maybe she ran away. We just don't know."
The teen is 5 ft 8, 100 pounds with light brown hair and hazel eyes. She was reportedly driving a 2002 silver Ford Escape with South Carolina tag KFI-776. The vehicle is also missing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Horry County Police Department or call the Tip Line at 843-915-8477 (843-915-TIPS).
The family is also sharing updates on a Facebook page, Help Find Marley McKenna Spindler.
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