Missing teen found in Tennessee
SILVERTHORNE – Hunter Bennett doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he gets choked up when he thinks about all the people – detectives, students, Silverthorne police officers, school counselors and strangers – who helped him find his daughter, Chante.The teen had been missing since Jan. 7; she returned home Saturday.The last time Bennett saw his ninth grader was eight days ago when she disappeared from the Children’s Hospital parking lot in Denver.”I was scared,” he said. “Words cannot describe how scared I was. I have never been so helpless in my entire life.”Now, Bennett’s trying to follow the trail and figure out what happened.”I got quite a bit of information from people,” he said. “I found out she had a check she hadn’t cashed. Then the counselors at school and a student received information from someone who said when she was going out to the car and some boys got out of a red truck. Based on where her bag was, it seemed they were blocking her ability to return to the emergency room. She got scared and ran through the parking lot and got into a cab.”He declined to say if Chante knew the boys.Bennett believes she then went to a nearby Greyhound station and boarded a bus to Tennessee, where her grandparents live.”She thought she’d be safe with her grandparents,” he said. Once he located his daughter, he bought her a plane ticket back to Denver. She arrived Saturday morning.The father said Chante will gradually be integrated back into Summit High School.Bennett fears she might have a tough time dealing with teens who can sometimes be judgmental.”I tell her that people who are critical, who are not supportive, they are not your friends anyway,” he said. “People who stand by your side and admire the strength you show, those are the people you need to appreciate and befriend. I’m proud of her for being so strong about it, so mature about it.”After watching the small staff at the Missing Persons Bureau in Denver, Bennett also wants to start a nonprofit organization that helps detectives locate missing people.For now, he’s just taking it one day at a time.”At least she’s home,” he said. “Now the healing process starts. We need to put all this behind us and hopefully weather the storm of people who are supportive and those that are not. I need to give her encouragement and stand beside her.”
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