Betty Taylor, 12-Year-Old Missing Since March 20, Found in South Carolina

A 12-year-old Arizona girl previously reported as missing after going out for a walk has been found safe in South Carolina.

Betty Taylor had been reported as missing since March 20 and was found ten days later. Graham County Undersheriff Jeff McCormies told local newspaper The Copper Era that she and her 23-year-old companion were found using location-tracking technology. The identity of the man has not been released, but he has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and custodial interference. Authorities have not released where specifically in South Carolina Betty Taylor was found.

Taylor's family members had previously said they were growing increasingly concerned about her disappearance. The case is one of several recent incidents involving missing children who were later found alive, including a 3-month-old boy in Wisconsin and six siblings in Tennessee.

It is unknown what the connection is between the man and Taylor, although The Copper Erareported that her family previously expressed worries over who she talked to on social media. In a separate interview, her mother, Bonnie Jones, said that she talked to several people online across a handful of different social media accounts.

"She had promised over and over again that she would get rid of them, and I checked her most recent Facebook, and she has her friends hidden, except for the mutual friends," Jones told local news station KNXV.

That is why she grew suspicious when Taylor went for a walk at around 11 a.m. and was not back home by 6 p.m. From there, the family alerted the Graham County Sheriff's Office, which began an immediate investigation into the girl's disappearance, KPNX reported.

"[Her not arriving home] was a red flag. And that's why we said something so quickly," Jones explained to KPNX. "Maybe she walked off and got lost. Maybe she went for a walk and somebody swiped her up. Considering she didn't take clothes or anything like that I really feel like it wasn't a planned thing for her."

Betty Taylor
Betty Taylor from Safford, Arizona, seen in this combined photo, has been found alive in South Carolina. Courtesy of the Graham County Sheriff's Office and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Despite the harrowing circumstances, Jones maintained faith that Taylor would eventually be found.

"My faith is strong. It's not going to be shaken," she said to KPNX. "Wherever she is she's alright and she's safe and she will come home. We're going to find you."

Jones has not publicly commented on her daughter's reappearance. Her uncle, Danny Taylor, wrote a post on Facebook thanking God and the volunteers assisting the family with the search.

Newsweek has reached out to the Graham County Sheriff's Department for further comment but did not receive a response by publication time.

Update at 3/30/22, 11:38 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information.