Missing woman: 'Here I am'

Missing woman: 'Here I am'

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Biloxi missing person's case is solved after the missing person saw herself on WLOX News.

Stephanie Hoops has been married for 20 years, but following an argument with her husband, she wanted a change of scenery for a few days.

"I left and had my Dad pick me up," said Hoops. "I went to his house and my phone was off, it had been off for a while. I just didn't call him [her husband ] and didn't think anything about it."

When Stephanie's husband didn't know where she was, he contacted the police and the search was on.

"We went through every lead that we could find including phone numbers trying to call her, checking the area itself and we didn't have any luck," said Lt. Chris DeBack, Biloxi Police Department.

Looking for answers, the police reached out to WLOX News. Stephanie happened to be watching the 10:00 p.m. news Tuesday when, to her surprise, she saw a report that said police were asking the public for help locating her.

"I immediately called my husband, got the detective's phone number, called left a message letting them know that I was okay," said Hoops. "Then I sent a message to WLOX letting them know I was okay and that I had contacted the police department, and that I was going to be coming up here today to let them know that I wasn't missing and that I was fine the whole time."

To find out Stephanie wasn't actually missing is the kind of outcome Lt. DeBack likes to see.

"It's always a relief to find out somebody is healthy and well," said DeBack.

After turning her phone on, Stephanie was flooded with texts and Facebook messages from people asking if she was okay.

"I heard from people I hadn't heard from in years and even from people I didn't know," said Hoops.

The lesson she's learned from all of this, is to always stay in touch with somebody.

"I won't be leaving anymore without letting them know where I'm at, and giving phone numbers," said Hoops. "I'm going to be updating all my contacts and phone numbers with the investigators so if anything ever does happens to where I do go missing, then they have phone numbers and addresses to go to. "

Lt. DeBack said an average of 50 missing people are reported in Biloxi every year and most of them are found before the media is notified.

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