9:37 AM PDT, May 17, 2021
Missouri teen Mikayla Jones’s family is still hopeful she will return home, despite the 18-year-old having been last seen nearly two weeks ago at a home in a rural location by men she would not have been too familiar with, a spokesperson for the family told Inside Edition Digital.
“We’re hopeful, with continued prayers, for the best possible outcome,” said Eric Ziegler, a friend of the family. “With optimism and faith, we’re still hopeful that can happen.”
However, he and the family have “strong suspicion” that the Farmington teen may have been killed.
“Her cell phone has been off early Wednesday and it has not been turned back on, with her last location being in Belgrade, Missouri through the Find My Phone app,” he said. “[She has] completely ghosted from all social media, which is uncommon for her as well.”
She was last seen either late Tuesday May 4, or early May 5, at a home in a rural area about 30 miles away from her home. Ziegler said she had gone there with a friend, and two men at the home with them would have been new acquaintances, although at least one appeared to have been in one of her TikTok videos in the past.
Authorities with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said that they were told she left the home a some point that night, according to KTVI. “Mikayla refused a ride, [her two male acquaintances] claimed that when they woke up, she was gone,” said Ziegler, who has a background in law enforcement and is helping the family organize their search.
He said that while tips that are pouring into the Facebook page, Find Mikayla Jones, are full of “conflicting information,” he and the family are still exploring all possibilities.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said no one has been charged with any crime in connection to Jones’s disappearance.
And in the meantime, her family continues to worry. “Mom is doing a little bit better today,” Ziegler said. “She’s been absolutely beside herself, hysterical. She probably slept a total of four hours the first week, she seems to be doing a little better today.”
Jones is very close to her family, and still lives at home with her mom, with whom she normally talks every day, he said.
Jones’s grandfather said he feels like “he not only lost his granddaughter but also his daughter” because of how distraught she has been over her own daughter’s disappearance, Ziegler said.
They are continuing to have large volunteer groups conduct organized searches, including one that will be held Monday in the Belgrade area, which is where she was last seen.
To donate to the family’s search efforts, visit their GoFundMe page.