Reports confirm that Raven Cassidy Furlong - an 18-year-old teen who went missing from her Aurora, Colorado home back in February - was found safe and unharmed hanging out with a group of friends in Venice Beach, CA on Friday, April 5. Initially deemed a runaway, Furlong's family still believes that the young woman was "coerced" into prostitution and remains a "scared victim of trafficking." Even so, Furlong insists that she's "doing fine" and that "everyone should just leave her alone."
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When Furlong went missing back on February 5, she was still only 17. Her family and police began an avid search for the teen. When she was found over the weekend in California, Furlong admitted that she was indeed a runaway.
Police were already investigating a tip that Furlong had been spotted in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles at the time she was found. Furlong was allegedly waiting in a television line for a shooting of NBC's hit show "American Ninja Warrior."
"[She was] waiting in line with some friends, some other people for a TV shoot," Sgt. Daniel Gonzalez of the LA Police Department Pacific Division told reporters. Authorities asked Furlong to go to the station for more questioning, and she agreed without argument.
Now 18-years-old, Furlong insists that she was in LA of her own accord. According to Gonzalez, "She didn't appear to be under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. She didn't appear to be given us any type of coerced statements."
Furlong's family were made aware of her location - and they still believe that she's not telling the entire truth.
"I can tell that it’s her, but that’s not my daughter," Furlong's mother Tonja Mahaffey told ABC 7 in Denver.
Mahaffey started a Facebook page dedicating to finding her missing daughter back in February, and she continues to post updates on how the family's trying to get Furlong back home. One message reads:
"AS HER MOTHER, I WOULD NOT SPEND THE TIME AND MONEY AND ENERGY THAT I HAVE OR THAT MY FAMILY HAS, IF I DID NOT BELIEVE THAT SHE WAS TRULY IN DANGER!... I am not doing this to be controlling, I never have been that kind of person. I am doing this to SAVE MY DAUGHTER'S LIFE! If you cannot accept that or just choose not too, please keep your negativity to yourself. We are here for a succesfull and happy outcome, not a negative one."
Furlong was one of three recently missing Colorado teens who had a profile on the website Model Mayhem.
But Furlong insists that she doesn't want to return to Colorado, and she has the right to make that decision.
"She's 18... She's an adult," Sgt. Gonzalez said. Her name's since been removed from the "missing persons" list.
Watch the exclusive ABC 7 news story for more details:
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