by Jack Minor –
An Evans teenager who was missing since Halloween has been safely returned to her family, the Gazette has learned.
Sheala Edwards was last seen on Halloween night when she was trick or treating with her friends. Several witnesses said they saw her get into a black vehicle with a bag that appeared to contain clothes.
According to Evans Police Chief Rick Brandt, prior to the incident Edwards had told friends she was planning to run away with her boyfriend. “That night she told her friend she was going to run away with her boyfriend. We had someone say they saw her with a small container with what seemed to be clothes in it that evening.” Brandt said, “We have no evidence that says otherwise.”
The Evans Police Department assigned two detectives to the case and interviewed John Martinez, Sheala’s boyfriend, and his family. The police also interviewed several students at Sheala’s school.
A relative received a phone call Thursday evening from a girl who claimed to be Sheala, saying she was all right. However, the reception on the call was somewhat muffled and the relative could not be sure it was Sheala’s voice on the phone.
Chery Mayeda, a friend of the family affectionately known as “Aunt” Chery, contacted the Gazette and said Sheala had returned home after the FBI had gotten involved in the case.
Mayeda said the FBI had discovered Sheala was staying in a camper in the Martinez’s backyard.
During the course of the investigation members of the family, including Sheala’s parents, Jason and Brenda Edwards, were frustrated with a perceived lack of action by the Evans Police.
Brandt said he understood the family’s frustration, but all signs pointed to Sheala’s being a runaway and all leads the police had at the time had been exhausted.