EXCLUSIVE: Parents of found teen speak out about her disappearance
COLUMBIA — A Columbia teenager is home safe after she was missing for almost two days.
Summer Skye Allen, 13, was found Saturday afternoon, according to her step-mother Tracy Turnbow. Allen was staying at a friend's house during the time she was missing.
"I thought I was looking for a body," said Ken Allen, Summer's father. "Turns out she was just chilling at a friend's house."
Turnbow said they realized Summer was staying at a friend's house after her friend's mother saw a post on social media and recognized her.
"The mother was beside herself, she had no idea that we were looking for her," Turnbow said. "She didn't realize that we didn't even know she was over there."
The friend's mother went to where Turnbow works after she saw the post and left her information with Tunbow's coworkers. After she got a call from her coworkers, Turnbow said they found Summer at the friend's house.
"It was definitely very overwhelming. Part of me was upset a little bit because we thought something bad happened to you, and you knew we would've looked for you, you knew that your parents were worried about you, and you still just let it go into another day," Turnbow said. "At the same time it was incredibly overwhelming that she was alright and it wasn't a situation where it was a phone call at 3 in the morning because somebody else found her."
Turnbow said she wouldn't expect Summer to run away and the incident was surprising. She described Summer as a "very happy kid." Turnbow said she was 100 percent certain when she went missing that if she could've come back, she would have.
"She left Thursday at about 6:30 (p.m.), she was going for a walk, and we were like ok whatever," Turnbow said. "Then about 8-ish, Ken was like 'She's still not back yet, I'm gonna ride my bike up the street to the Boys and Girl's Club Park', because she goes up there sometimes."
Turbow said they didn't find Allen there, and continued to search everywhere they could think of. Around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night, Allen and Turbow decided to contact the police.
"As it started getting dark, obviously more worry set in," Turbow said. "She's normally not the type of child to wander around. She's not very street smart, she's a little skittish, she scares easy."
By Friday, Turnbow said she and Summer's father were looking in trash cans and drainage ditches. They feared the worst.
"I never thought I'd see her on a missing poster, wear a T-shirt with her face on it, nothing," Ken Allen said. "Never."
Turnbow said she is incredibly grateful for everyone who shared her posts about Summer on social media.
"It's literally the number one reason we found her, because someone saw it and recognized her," Turnbow said. "If anybody ever needs a kidney, holler at me, because I got you."
Despite everything, Turnbow said everyone is doing ok now.
"I feel like it's one of those things where you go on an airplane for a really long time, and you come home and you feel outside of your body, and you have to come down from that," Turnbow said. "Just a little jet-laggy from the stress and the crying and walking around in the heat looking for her."