A GIRL of 15 feared to have run off with a “much older man” she met on Snapchat has been found dead just weeks after returning home, The Sun reports.
Heaven Ray Cox disappeared from her home in Texas in November and was thought to have gone to meet a “predator” from California.
Her disappearance sparked a four-day nationwide manhunt in the US.
She was later found safe and well in Louisiana at an address belonging to the relative of someone known to her, the sheriff’s officers confirmed. But her mum Tammy has now said her daughter has passed away.
She wrote on Facebook: “Our sweet Heaven left us to be with Jesus this afternoon around 4:00. Some bright lights are not meant for this dark and cruel world….Sing with the angels sweet girl. I love you,” it is reported.
In November, Tammy said of her daughter’s disappearance: “She is 15 and may be in the company of a man much older than her.
“He is a predator who manipulated her online into believing that he is her friend. She suffers from mental illness and is currently in a manic phase due to being off of her medication.
“We need to bring her home, as we believe she is in grave danger.”
Heaven’s parents noticed the bipolar teen was missing on the afternoon of November 25. They thought she had slept in late but when they went to check on her there was a note saying she had gone.
At the time, police said the note indicated she might be heading to California but did not say who she was travelling with.
Tammy said she believed the Californian man had promised to pick her daughter up in San Antonio where he was staying for Thanksgiving.
The city is four and a half hours’ drive from Heaven’s home in Mauriceville.
Tammy added after learning of the Snapchat messages: “The man she has been talking to is a predator, who has apparently been manipulating her for some time, and in her current state of mind, she believes that he is her friend.
“She left a goodbye note to me and her Dad, and said that she wouldn’t have a phone, so I’m sure he has taken it from her, as it isn’t here, and I have torn her room apart.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said it appeared the teen ran away on her own accord, and police never confirmed whether the Snapchat “predator” was involved.
Friends and family offered their condolences on Facebook after Tammy Cox shared the news of her daughter’s death.
Felicia Marie Hippler wrote: “She was such a beautiful girl. I remember when I first saw her, she was so little and gorgeous already! I hope she’s found her peace and I’m praying for you guys.”
Giomar Chapman wrote, “Dear Tammy I’m so sorry sweetheart, my heart aches for you. She will be greatly miss[ed] but your angel she will always be.”