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May 3, 2012

Otter Creek Middle School student last seen Sunday

Alert went out late Tuesday night

TERRE HAUTE — A countywide alert issued late Tuesday about a missing girl generated good leads for police, Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing said Wednesday.

None of those leads panned out, however, prompting authorities to conduct a ground and air search Wednesday in the north-central Vigo County residential neighborhood where 12-year-old Alyssa Marie Sedletzeck was last seen.

Police said she was last seen around 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at her family’s home on North Page Street in the Howard Subdivision just off U.S. 41 at Hasselburger Avenue.

The alert using the Code Red system contacted all landline telephones in Vigo County with information concerning the missing girl, who was last seen by her family on Sunday when she reportedly walked to a friend’s home. The alert — which sent a recorded message to phones around 11 p.m. — also went to cell phones that are registered for the service through the county government website.

Ewing said the decision to broadcast the information about the missing child was made as information developed that her disappearance was more than a case of a child who ran away from home.

“I apologize that the alert came so late at night; however, as information developed rapidly, we really needed to enlist the community’s help,” Ewing said. “The possibility of finding a 12-year-old girl, as weighed against the inconvenience of the late call — I’m going to err on the side of the victim.”

The search continued Wednesday evening for Sedletzeck, who is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 105 pounds with straight, long brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a dark T-shirt, blue jeans and green baseball cap with a purple flat bill. She may have been accompanied by an unknown person.

Ewing said the girl was also in possession of a cell phone, which has showed no activity since her disappearance.

Detective Karen Cross of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department told the Tribune-Star that the decision was made to issue an Indiana Missing Teen report late Tuesday at the urging of the child’s parents. The girl initially was reported as a runaway, Cross said, but after she did not turn up with friends or at school, her status was changed.

The child does not have any medical issues or anything that makes her endangered at this point, other than her age and the fact that no one has been in communication with her, Cross said. Those issues did not make her eligible for an Indiana Amber Alert, a statewide system to notify the public of an endangered missing child.

The girl’s family has been monitoring her Facebook account, to see if she accesses it, Cross said. They noticed that before she went missing, their daughter had been in contact with a male who lists his age as 21. Detective Cross said she has received information that the male may not be as old as 21, but may be around the same age as Sedletzeck. Since the male’s identity has not been confirmed, no information has been released about him.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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