Long Beach community holds vigil for missing teen

Long Beach community holds vigil for missing teen
Family members say they fear the worst. (Photo source: WLOX)
Family members say they fear the worst. (Photo source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Sixteen-year-old Courtlee Ann Hilton of Bay St. Louis has been missing since Oct. 1. She was last seen at a friend's house in Long Beach.

An emotional vigil at Our Lady of the Gulf in Bay St. Louis Sunday night drew a large crowd of family members, friends, and classmates from Our Lady Academy.

"Our entire class and school community has been praying for her and we all love her and miss her so much," said classmate Victoria Wolf. "We hope that she returns safely to us."

Long Beach Police Chief Billy Seal says the case isn't considered suspicious at this time. Although police say Courtlee is a runaway who could be somewhere in Bay St. Louis, many others fear the worst.

"Somebody has her. Somebody's holding her," said Courtlee's mother, Melanie Bradford. "There's got to be an adult involved somewhere. She has no money, she has no cell phone. I'm in fear that she's in grave danger."

The case is particularly worrisome for loved ones because there has been no contact.

"It's very odd for somebody of this age to not communicate with anybody," she said. "She's never ever done anything like this before," said family friend Liz Gardner.

Bradford made a plea to her daughter: "Courtlee, if you can hear me, I love you very much. Just call. Come home and we'll figure everything out."

Any adult found helping to hide the teenager will face charges. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Courtlee Ann Hilton is asked to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or the Long Beach Police Department at 228-865-1981.

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