Erin Nembhard, who police say ran away with a man she met on the Internet who then took her to the home of a known sex offender, walked into the Opa Locka, Florida police station Monday asking to go back home.
Erin's mother, Joy Nembhard, said she started screaming and crying when she heard of her daughter's return.
"First, I'm going to hug her, and then we're just going to love her," Joy Nembhard said. "She's a good girl, and we're going to get help for her."
Investigators say the teen likely spent most of the time in the Opa-locka area, but they're not sure what she was doing or if she had a place to stay, food or money. On Monday, the focus was on evaluating the teen at a hospital and then reuniting her with her family, Port St. Lucie police said.
Police say Erin sneaked out the family's Northwest Aurora Street home and was met by 21-year old Eduardo Navaez.
He then drove her to his home in northwest Miami-Dade, investigators said. The two originally met on the Internet.
Opa-locka police officers said Nembhard appeared tired when she walked through the double doors of the police station Monday afternoon, telling them she was a runaway and that she was there because she saw her photo on TV.
"She was a little worse for wear," said Opa-locka police Cpl. Tony Lacks. "But she did walk into the police station on her own steam."
After taking the girl to his home, Navaez said she asked him to take her to a house in Miami Gardens, where she met with sex offender Corey Witty, 35, investigators said.
Both men were arrested last week on charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a child, but Miami-Dade police could not publicly identify the victim in those cases.
Witty said Nembhard spent much of Sept. 17 and 18 with him, but that he had not seen her since she walked out of his house on Sept. 18, leaving clothes and other items she had brought from home, investigators said.
Those puzzling circumstances prompted Port St. Lucie police to ask the FBI and Miami-Dade police for help in finding the teen. South Florida's Child Abduction Response Team also was activated for the search, putting more than 200 investigators from several agencies on the case. The investigators followed up on tips and handed out fliers with Nembhard's photo on them.
The investigation continues as detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department's Child and Elderly Exploitation Unit and detectives from other parts of the department and other agencies piece together what Nembhard did in Miami-Dade and whether she was the victim of a crime there.
Nembhard likely will have some issues to work out with her family, but Port St. Lucie police say she faces no criminal penalties for running away and sparking a massive search. Police are happy she is OK and that she turned herself in.
"Being a runaway is not a crime," said Port St. Lucie Capt. Scott Bartal. "She's not in trouble."