Law enforcement officers and hundreds of volunteers are scouring roads and woods in Ohio in search of a high school senior who vanished on Sunday morning just hours before her graduation.
Madison Bell, 18, was last seen leaving her home in Ross County on Sunday morning en route to a tanning salon on State Road 28 near Greenfield, but she never made it there.
Instead, Madison’s mother later found her daughter’s car abandoned in the parking lot of a church in Highland County. The vehicle was unlocked with the missing teen’s phone inside and the keys still in the ignition.
Madison Bell, 18 (left and right), was last seen leaving her home in Ross County, Ohio, on Sunday night. She was heading to a tanning salon, but she never made it there
Bell’s car was found abandoned with the keys still in the ignition in the parking lot of the Good Shepherd Church in Highland County (pictured)
Melissa Bell told reporters that images from a surveillance camera captured a white Nissan with California license plates and a tall Caucasian man in his late 20s or early 30s in the church parking lot prior to her daughter’s arrival there.
Authorities were said to be looking into this lead as part of the missing person investigation.
Bell said she last saw Madison at home at 10.30am on Sunday before the senior left to go to her tanning appointment ahead of her graduation at McClain High School.
Tanning businesses had just reopened in Ohio last Friday following the coronavirus lockdown.
When Madison, known to her family and friends as ‘Maddie,’ did not return home after about an hour, her mother started texting and calling her, but received no response.
Madison’s mother, Melissa Bell (left), and her boyfriend, Cody Mann (right), drove to the church and found her car unlocked, with her phone inside
Bell (pictured with her live-in boyfriend of five years, left), was set to graduate on Sunday afternoon. Her mother said she would not have missed it
Surveillance photos reportedly showed a white Nissan with California license plates and a man in his 20s or 30s in the parking lot prior to Bell’s arrival
Madison’s live-in boyfriend, Cody Mann, tried to contact her too, but without success.
Concerned that Madison may have gotten into a car accident, Bell and Mann drove to the Good Shepherd Church parking lot near the Corner Market tanning salon, where they found her car.
‘The windows are up, we open the door, her phone is laying in it, her keys in the ignition, the change is in the container she had. The car was left unlocked,’ the mother recounted to WHIO. ‘She would never leave her car unlocked, she would never leave her phone in there.’
Bell said she tried to unlock Madison’s phone but was unable to and handed it over to law enforcement.
Hundreds of volunteers have been looking for Bell and giving out flyers
Bell insisted her daughter would never leave her family and friends, especially during graduation week.
‘She would always contact me even if she was going to be five minutes late,’ the distraught mother said.
Cody Mann, Madison’s boyfriend of five years, broke down in tears pleading for her safe return during an interview with Fox19.
‘She’s the most loving girl I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, I can’t even explain it… I just want her to come home,’ he said through sobs.
More than 300 volunteers came out to search for Madison on Sunday and Monday, spending thousands of man-hours scouring trails and woods, and distributing flyers.
Madison Bell is described as a white female, weighing 120lbs and standing at 5 feet 6 inches in height, with brown eyes and brown hair. She has grey contact lenses, a cross tattoo on her neck, and a ghost tattoo on her side
Madison Bell is described as a white female, weighing 120lbs and standing at 5 feet 6 inches in height, with brown eyes and brown hair. She has grey contact lenses, a cross tattoo on her neck, and a ghost tattoo on her side.
She was last seen wearing a T-shirt, brown sandals, black leggings or Star Wars pants, and a black North Face Jacket.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Highland County Sheriff’s Office at (937) 393-1421.