SEATTLE — Last Friday, Genel Perkins and her daughter Eliana had a milestone moment.
“That was the first day I actually let her take the Metro bus by herself,” the missing girl’s mom said.
Eliana boarded the Number 8 Metro bus at 23rd and Jackson at 8:20 that morning.
“She wanted to go on her own and she wanted me to trust her to go on her own and to come back on her own so I just told her to get on the bus and I have not seen her since,” Perkins said.
She was heading to Southlake High School, but friends say she got off the bus at the Othello Transit Center on MLK and arrived later at the school with an unknown man.
Friends say that same man picked Eliana up after school in what they thought was a white Honda.
“There is a grave concern for her safety … being that she is so young and that we don’t know where she is or who she is with,” Seattle police detective Drew Fowler said.
Seattle police are investigating and are searching for Elaina, but they have few leads as to where she might be.
“We are searching multiple addresses, looking through social media pages hoping for any kind of clue that we can confirm she is OK and reunited her with her family but we don’t have a lot of information to go on from this starting point,” Fowler said.
Perkins says she talked to her daughter on the phone after school that day and everything seemed fine, but she says nothing is fine now and won’t be until she sees her daughter again.
“I can’t sleep. All I can think about is her. I’m anxious. I’m just beyond worried. I’m sad. I’m angry but most of all I’m worried and just want her to come home,” Perkins said.
Police say it could happen to any child and all parents can do is keep the lines of communication wide open.
“In 2015 this is a real challenge; trying to figure out how to strike a balance between letting your children be themselves but also making sure they are safe in their social media adventures,” Fowler said.
Police say that might not be a perfect solution but they say just keeping tabs on what your children do and where they go and who they spend time with, and talking to your children, is a good first step.
If you’ve seen Eliana Perkins or know where she is, call 911.