INDEPENDENCE, Kan. – A teenager who authorities say was abducted from her driveway at gunpoint showed up at a stranger's home in her rural Kansas town about 15 hours later begging for help, police said.
The 16-year-old was unharmed and being interviewed about her ordeal Wednesday morning, Police Chief Lee Bynum said. He said authorities were searching for a suspect.
"She doesn't know where she's been," said Kelsey Lynn Stelting's aunt, Lisa Wilson.
Kelsey, a high school softball player, disappeared around dawn Tuesday after walking out of the house to get a bag of bats from the family car, said her mother, Kelly Cox.
Bynum said the teen was approached by a man with a gun who told her to run about six blocks to a lumber store or she would be killed along with her family. When she got to the store, she was told to get into a white van, Bynum said.
Shortly afterward, she called 911 from a cell phone to say she had been abducted. Wilson said that based on that call, police believed there was only one kidnapper.
Late Tuesday, she turned up at the home in Independence, her hometown of about 9,800 residents in Kansas' southeast corner. Authorities weren't sure if she had walked to the home or if she had been dropped off there.
No van was immediately recovered, and no one had been arrested, though law enforcement continued to search for a suspect Wednesday morning.
Friends and family members hugged and jumped up and down when they got the news that she had been found.
"For a split second you are overjoyed," Wilson said. "And then fear sets in until they said the words, 'She's OK."'
Kelsey's boyfriend of more than two years, Brandon Kelley, 17, said he was stunned by the news.
"It's kind of one of those things that melted over you. It finally felt OK," he said.