The family of a missing Michigan teen fear she is caught in a dangerous situation with human traffickers that she cannot escape.
Battle Creek Police Department said 15-year-old Lavonda Marriott-Lockmiller was last seen on home security cameras Aug. 16 leaving her foster mom's home on Fremont Street in Battle Creek. Police said the teen appeared to willingly leave with "two younger black males" in a silver or gray car.
No one has seen or spoken to her in nearly three weeks.
While investigators have uncovered no information that sex trafficking is involved in her disappearance, concern for the girl’s safety continues.
“We want to hope for the best but when no one in Battle Creek can point us in the right direction when we have no leads or anything else, it's concerning,” said Sgt. Jeff Case with Battle Creek Police Department.
Investigators released troubling text messages Monday sent to the missing teen’s mom last week.
“Hi mum it’s Lavonda.”
The message was sent from an internet phone that is difficult to trace and a phone number Lavonda’s friends and family don’t recognize.
The girl’s family believes someone else posing as Lavonda sent those messages.
“Mom was spelled out ‘m-u-m,’ which was completely different than Lavonda has ever done on social media,” Case said.
Another message sent last week said, “So I advice [sic] you put down all post and fliers down mum because I am safe and happy where I am now.”
The angle of the security camera and quality of the video does not reveal the license plate or show the faces of the men Lavonda left with.
Nearly a month later, police said no one has seen or talked to the missing teen since then.
As more time passes, the level of concern grows that this is not a runaway.
“The friends don't know, the mom doesn't know, relatives don't know and people that should know don't know,” Case said.
Police said Lavonda’s mom responded to the mysterious text messages asking for a photo to prove it was Lavonda.
Without a response, Lavonda's mom sent another text that said her daughter wouldn't run away.
"Nice try now who is this really," she asked.
Whoever contacted Lavonda's mom never replied.
“When we are three-plus weeks into this and then we have a contact that really doesn't sound like Lavonda, our concern is definitely elevated,” Case said.
He again stressed investigators have no proof of sex trafficking, and while Battle Creek has seen cases in the past, none have involved children or teens being kidnapped off the streets.
Human traffickers often lure teens away.
“Most of the time the cases that we have seen are the cases where drugs, some sort of force or coercion are involved, but it generally happens through a relationship,” Case said speaking generally.
Anyone with information on Lavonda’s whereabouts are asked to call (269) 781-0911.