No clues in missing teenager case, search continues.
Alexandria Lowitzer, Ali to her friends, is an active 16-year-old who loves to text on her cell phone and play softball. She has been missing since April 26 after getting off the school bus near her home in Spring, TX.
By STEFANIE THOMAS
SPRING , TX – Alexandria Lowitzer seems to have vanished without a trace.
No phone calls, no text messages, no good-bye letter to indicate she was upset and wanted to get away from things. No obvious reason, anyway, for her to be upset.
The last time anyone saw the 16-year-old teen from Spring, she was getting off the school bus April 26, only a few feet from her home on Low Ridge Road.
Since Saturday, May 1, the Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children, a non-profit organization based in Friendswood, has organized a massive onsite search effort that has so far drawn approximately 200 volunteers to comb the extensive wooded area behind the Lowitzer residence.
“We had a horse team out in the woods through the Greater Houston Search Dog Team, and they also brought a dog to do some tracking and trailing,” said Bob Walcutt, executive director of the Laura Recovery Center, which was contacted by Ali’s family. “So far we have nothing to hang our hat on. We had some tips, different leads, but nothing concrete.”
The Houston Police Mounted Patrol covered a large portion of the wooded expanse, assisting Precinct 4 Constable’s deputies and Harris County Sheriff’s officials in the recovery effort, Walcutt said, and two men volunteered to search the area on ATVs.
“We’re literally covering areas where someone could take a person, commit a crime and [leave] them – large wooded areas, ponds, creeks,” he said. “Around here, there are a lot of places like that and so far we have found nothing. We’re still no further along than we were on the first day.”
RUNAWAY – OR NOT?
Walcutt said his organization generally doesn’t get involved in runaway cases, which was still the current status assigned to Ali’s disappearance by law enforcement as of Friday.
“If we knew for sure this was a runaway, we would not be physically here right now,” he explained. “But Alexandria apparently lives on her phone, uses her text messaging all the time. When she left, everything stopped once she got off that bus. Everything. There has been no activity on that phone since then, which leads to the possibility that something may have happened to her at that point.”
Shaye Vaught is a friend of the Lowitzer family. Her own daughter and Ali are good friends, and over the years Ali had become a part of Vaught’s family as well.
“I love Ali to death; she’s like a third daughter to me,” she said. “She used to be in my Girl Scout troop, and it was nothing to have Ali come in the door behind my daughters after school and stay for dinner.”
Vaught, who volunteered at the Laura Recovery camp all week long, described Ali as a good kid, very sweet – a kid who would never run away to leave everything, and everyone, she loves behind. Those who know the teen say for her to miss her softball team’s season tournament and her best friend’s 16th birthday party is out of character.
“She’s a teenage girl, sure, but she’s not in any way a troublemaker,” she explained. “She was very excited about her job at Burger Barn. I think she really liked the work. She constantly called them to pick up extra shifts.”
In fact, officials believe Ali was on her way to pick up her paycheck from work, only half a mile from her home, after she got off the school bus.
Vaught said law enforcement could dedicate more resources to the search for Ali if her status were updated to “endangered.”
“It’s disheartening that she’s still listed as a runaway,” she said. “It would step things up a notch.”
Walcutt said law enforcement continues to conduct its investigation and at this time there is no hard evidence that foul play is involved. At the same time, he said, the complete lack of activity on Ali’s cell phone was enough to convince the Laura Recovery Center to get involved.
“My best hope is that she is a runaway,” he said. “In that case, she can come home and be safe and well. If she’s not a runaway, then all bets are off. In 99 out of 100 cases, everything turns out fine, but it’s that one percent that’s worrisome. Bad things do happen.”
There is also information on the Laura recovery site. http://www.facebook.com/l/5969b;www.LRCF.org and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) web site.
ALEXANDRIA JOY LOWITZER
Missing Since: April 26, 2010 at 15:00
Missing From: Low Ridge Road
Height: 5 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 145 lbs
Eye Color: hazel
Hair Color: Auburn
Birth Date: February 3, 1994
Braces on Upper Teeth
Braces on Lower Teeth
Distinguishing Marks: Faint scar from chicken pox between her eyes