Missing girl found in Texas

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Clanton teenager reported missing on Sept. 2 was found early Sunday morning in Texas, Chilton County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Mayfield said.

A missing person alert was filed last week for 16-year-old Natalie Brooke Merrell. Authorities thought Merrell might be with her boyfriend, Chance Williams, and the two were found sleeping in a vehicle off the side of the road at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in Madisonville, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston and about 650 miles from Clanton.

“They got a call about a suspicious vehicle on the side of the road and went and checked it out,” Mayfield said. “They held her until the parents could drive out and pick her up. He drove back on his own.”

Mayfield said the case would be presented to the grand jury, which would determine if the evidence warrants charges being brought against Williams.

“She was not abducted,” Mayfield said. “It was a voluntary act.”

At the time of being reported missing, Merrell had last been seen the morning of Aug. 30, supposedly on her way to school.