BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — After four months, a missing Staten Island teenager has been found in New Jersey.
Tracking her down was the result of a team effort that began with a picture posted on social media, CBS2’s Cory James reportedly exclusively on Tuesday night.
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“It was in the morning, I’m working. I see an email. It says ‘help’ in the line. I soon realize it was real,” New Jersey attorney Jim Lynch said.
That email was from an NYPD detective who was hoping to find, “The location of one of our billboards that was in a picture that had been posted by this young lady,” Lynch said.
A young lady from Staten Island, who had been missing since April, according to the NYPD.
The detective saw that the missing teen posted the picture on social media, and noticed on the corner of it was a billboard with Lynch’s advertisement.
After she reached out to him, Lynch, a father of five, quickly contacted his vendor for help.
“I then set the wheels in motion,” Lynch said.
Within a few hours, a representative from Outfront Media shot back an email that said the board is on the property of Hudson Plaza Motel in Bayonne.
The NYPD then contacted Bayonne police, who went out and found that missing Staten Island teen and another missing girl from New York at the motel.
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“Every little detail is important,” NYPD Det. Leiddy Zuber said.
Zuber has been in law enforcement for over 15 years. She told CBS2 she had a strong feeling from the very beginning about the photo she saw.
“I looked at the photo for a while and I finally said, ‘You know, this billboard …’ and I was so happy. You hope that your gut feeling and everything you’re doing is going to work out,” Zuber said.
That gut feeling that brought some peace to the missing’s teens father.
“I was surprised and just ecstatic that they were able to find her, they were able to locate her,” Anthony Davis said.
Davis said his daughter was OK, but there are many unanswered questions, including who she was found with.
“I believe it was human trafficking because I don’t understand why a 20-year-old or a 65-year-old person could want with a 17-year-old. I believe it was sex trafficking. I really do,” Davis said.
Officials said at this time there is no evidence to support that.
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But what is clear is that the work of a detective, lawyer, billboard company, and police department helped crack a 4-month-old case.