PROVO -- Charice Beaumont said goodbye to her father on Monday morning as she left, a few minutes behind her siblings, who had already left for school.
Charice, however, didn’t go to school. Leaving her backpack on the table, she left her Provo home, found a bike and started riding — all the way to Pleasant Grove. There, police say, the 14-year-old spent the night in an LDS Church building, unaware of the massive search that had begun in the Rivergrove neighborhood after her parents discovered she hadn’t shown up to school.
At about 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, more than an hour after hundreds of people had dispersed through the neighborhood, clambering over limbs and rocks along the river and taking fliers to businesses, Charice knocked on a random door in Pleasant Grove and asked to use the phone. She called her mom.
“My experience shows that when they get tired and hungry and cold enough” they call their parents, Provo Lt. Matt Siufanua said.
Siufanua reported in a press conference Tuesday morning that there would be no charges filed for her conduct.
“There will be repercussions — just ask her dad,” he said.
“Yesterday when she left, she got on a bicycle and rode up to Pleasant Grove,” he said. “We believe she spent the night at a Pleasant Grove church. She walked to a random home and asked to use the phone.”
Ed Dix, the family’s LDS bishop, was relieved with the news.
“This is very good,” he said.
Siufanua said Charice was probably unaware how many people had been searching for her, saying she probably did not have Internet access.
“I do not think that she knew there was much of an effort,” he said. “She got on a bicycle and rode to Pleasant Grove. We don’t know what bicycle she took.”
Monday morning, she made a call telling people that she loved them, but police do not think that was an indication of suicidal thoughts.
“We had no indication that a crime had occurred,” Siufanua said. “It just was a runaway child.”
Hundreds of searchers turned out Monday and Tuesday to look for her and distribute fliers. Police had been concerned about safety, because the family home is near the Provo River.
Siufanua said there would be interviews with her after she is brought home.
“We don’t think she was with anybody,” he said. “We will find out more.”
He said her parents were relieved.
“I can only imagine how I would feel,” he said. “I think they are very grateful.”
He said there are both good and bad sides to social media, which helped spread the word quickly about the missing teen.
“The speed at which the information goes out is amazing,” he said. “It went out about Charice, her looks, telephone numbers to call. Social media is amazing. The downside is that there can be too much transparency. Kids get on there and say too much. In regard to a situation like this, I don’t see any problems with it as long as bad information doesn’t get out. It is really hard to pull anything back. You have to be very careful.”