Ashley Murray, the Peconic teen who went missing Feb. 25, touching off a massive search that lit up the social media world and involved agencies including the FBI, is on her way to a hospital for an evaluation after appearing with an unidentified adult friend at Southold police headquarters at 3:15 p.m. Friday, police said.
The teen was interviewed by police for about an hour and 15 minutes before being taken to a “regional hospital,” said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley.
She said little about where she was during her absence, he added.
“She didn’t give a lot of information,” said the chief. “She was reluctant to say where she was.”
He added that police believe she was a runway, not abducted, and remained on the East End.
[Related: Relief and joy on social media for Ashley's safe return]
Reached at her family’s home, her brother Jamie Cradehl, said he hasn’t had time to process the news of his sister’s return.
“I’m waiting for everything to sink in,” he said.
He added that when the family asked Ashley if they should join her at the hospital, she said no, that she needed time by herself.
Ms. Murray was reported missing after failing to turn up at school that Monday morning. The ensuing search was unprecedented for the North Fork with police seeking assistance from other public departments, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Chief Flatley said that while the search is over, the investigation is continuing.
On the question of charges being filed, he said. “There’s always that chance. That’s what we have to look for.”
But he sees no reason to charge Ashley.
“We have look to see if there’s anyone else who should be looked at or might fit into a criminal charge, perhaps others who assisted her in remaining out of view,” he said.
Asked if the police interviews answered the questions on why she left and where she went, the chief said, “Not in their entirety, no.”
Southold Junior-Senior High School principal William Galati said he received a call about Ashley’s return about 4 p.m.
“We’re very excited, and I’m glad to hear that she is safe,” Mr. Galati said, adding that others in the school and the surrounding community will feel the same way.
“We have a caring, compassionate, educated community,” he said. “They express such great love and great care for these kids.”
With Carrie Miller and Jennifer Gustavson