TUKWILA, Wash. — Renton Police say missing Tukwila teen Malaya Dorsey was found and is OK. Police made the announcement on Twitter at 8:38 p.m. Thursday.
A Tukwila family is desperately searching for their missing daughter in South King County. Malaya Dorsey just turned 15 years old but disappeared five days before her 15th birthday.
Her family fears she was a victim of trafficking and their hearts are breaking more with every passing day. She was last spotted at the Jackson gas station off of Interurban Avenue near I-5 in Tukwila, and her family worried that she is somewhere across the country by now.
But on Wednesday, the family got new hope as a tip came in that she was spotted in Burien – getting off the 128 metro bus a few stops away from the Woodridge Park Apartments around 2:45 p.m. with a young man. She was spotted at Hilltop Park in Burien shortly after that.
The call came in as KIRO7′s Deedee Sun was speaking was mom, Christine Carrigan Oxenberg.
“Hello? You saw her?” Oxenberg said. “So you knew my daughter from school? So you know for 100% fact this is her? You have given the best lead, I appreciate it so much, I need to call 911 myself as well, I have to go,” she said to the caller.
Oxenberg later said almost didn’t answer the phone because there had been so many false leads.
One of them was reports from witnesses who thought they saw her getting into a black Tahoe at the downtown Renton Safeway. But a review of the surveillance video later determined that the female wasn’t Malaya.
“We just learned that this morning,” said Rachael Marion, Malaya’s aunt. “It was a big gut punch. We’ve been out in the Renton area for five days now, searching, handing out flyers.”
She said they even posted flyers at the transit center and handed them out to hotel staff.
Oxenberg said she believes Malaya had been speaking with someone online – who she possibly met while playing Fortnight – then they started speaking on Snapchat. She left the house sometime after midnight on Friday, June 21.
“This the first time anything like this has ever happened. This has shown me how much I’ve failed my daughter,” Oxenberg said, her voice breaking. “I just have to take personal responsibility for not equipping her with what she needed to be safe. We tried to talk about the dangers of talking to strangers online.”
According to human trafficking statistics from the Port of Seattle, “In King County, an estimated 500-700 children are forced into prostitution every year.”
Malaya’s family hopes the recent sighting means she will soon be found and returned home safely.
On Wednesday evening, we saw Tukwila police and Burien police in the areas where Malaya was last spotted. It’s not clear if she is in danger, or if the young man she was with is an acquaintance.
The two were reported wearing white hoodies on Thursday afternoon after getting off the 128 metro bus. Oxenberg said detectives told her they would be reviewing Metro bus surveillance video.
If you spot Malaya, call 911. The Tukwila PD case number is: CTP23-4252.
Oxenberg said if you’re not comfortable doing that, you can call her directly at 206-455-0313.
For members of the community wanting to offer help searching, or help fund the expense of printing flyers or gas money for the family - you can contact Malaya’s aunt Rachael at 253-243-5592.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1888-373-7888.
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