Twelve-year-old Kelsie Lee was found Monday night by a Good Samaritan driving along Peachtree Corners Circle, about a mile from the home the young girl fled some 14 hours earlier. After she was returned to her family unharmed, Gwinnett County police confirmed that Lee was indeed a runaway.
No foul play occurred, but authorities said Tuesday they haven’t ruled out filing criminal charges — against the girl herself.
“That will be determined as the investigation continues,” police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said.
Lee reportedly fled her family’s home on Jones Bridge Circle sometime prior to 8:45 a.m. Monday, when her mother returned home from dropping a sibling off at school.
Gwinnett County police — along with the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Defense Force and dozens of volunteers — searched the surrounding area for hours before suspending their full-scale efforts at around 8 p.m.
It was ultimately a Peachtree Corners resident who spotted Lee around 11 p.m., the latter walking in the area of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. Lee was “in good health” and reunited with her family.
Police have not released specifics, but intimated Monday that some type of familial issue was likely at play in the girl’s disappearance.
Ritter declined to speculate Tuesday on the eventual resolution of the case, which is still open.
“Every time we take a report for a runaway, we make the charge of ‘runaway juvenile’ on the juvenile complaint form and it’s forwarded to juvenile court,” he said. “This investigation continues and I don’t know at this time what the outcome will be.”