Desperate fathers search for missing Tampa teens
Updated On: Jun 26 2014 11:35:00 PM EDT
A 14-year-old girl and her 16-year-old boyfriend disappeared from the Tampa area a month ago. They are believed to have run away after the couple was bullied at school.
Now the teens' fathers, brought together by uncertain circumstances, are searching the state for their missing children: Ivy Warhul, 14, and Ronnie Sousa Jr., 16. And the teens have been spotted in our area.
“It's 30 days today,” Scott Warhul said Thursday of the disappearance of his daughter. “I'm scared. Every night when I go to sleep and know that she's not safe, and (not) at my house and under my roof. I'm scared to death.”
The teens' parents think they may be in North Florida, saying the two have been spotted in Port Orange, Palm Coast and St. Augustine.
The teens, who have no history of running away, disappeared after a mean video was posted online. Their dads think that might have been the motive for their disappearance.
Their families thought the teens would come back, but they haven't, and for the past week there's been no sign of them. But they've been spotted in the Jacksonville area in the last month, up and down Interstate 95.
“It is just blowing our minds,” said Ronnie Sousa Sr. “And it is very scary to not know where they are.”
A YouTube video shows Ivy at a Wendy's a couple weeks before she disappeared. Her father said she has the gift of gab, and the rare talent of saying 100 words in 10 seconds.
“She is an amazing child,” Scott Warhul said. “Funny, loving, she has a great family life.”
The parents said the two were spotted in St. Augustine, Ivy's favorite place, at a gas station off I-95, begging for gas money.
There have also been possible sightings in Flagler and Volusia counties. Their families have passed out hundreds of fliers and police are on the lookout for a Honda Element with a "Protect Wild Dolphins" license plate, the family car, which the two may be driving.
“There are a lot of bad things that we know they can get into and there are bad people out there,” Scott Warhul said.
“Yeah, child trafficking and that sort of thing,” Ronnie Sousa Sr. said. “We are deeply concerned about that for sure. We just don't know.”
Scott Warhul said his message to Ivy would be that it's OK to come home.
“You are not in trouble,” he pleaded. “We love you, and we will do anything for you.”
Deputies in St. Johns County said they're aware of the case and are on patrol looking for the two teens.
If you see the teens, their parents ask that you call your local law enforcement as soon as possible. If you see them panhandling, the dads ask that you not give them money, as that might enable them.
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