Raven Longo, 16, was disheveled and tired, but otherwise unharmed when law enforcement officers found her between 4 and 5 p.m. Thursday at a house in Pearl River County — three weeks after she disappeared from her home.
Waveland Police Chief David Allen told the Sun Herald he expects charges to be filed against the person or persons responsible for getting her to Pearl River County. He said Raven was talking to investigators Thursday evening and would be reunited with her family afterward.
Her distraught father, former Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo, talked to the Sun Herald about Raven just before the family was notified she was safe.
He said she left the house about midday Dec. 19 to go for a walk.
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Tommy and Marcia Longo, who have seven children, live on a quiet street with only three homes on it, just a block from the beach. The children often walk to the beach, but Tommy Longo told the Sun Herald he always insisted they go in groups.
Raven, their fifth child, left the house alone, without her iPhone 6. The police have the phone now.
Longo did not want to discuss the investigation into Raven’s disappearance. He had worried about compromising any chance of finding her.
“She loves her family,” he said. “She loves her brothers and sisters. We’re just trying to get her home safe. We’re devastated.”
Raven has overcome long odds in her young life. She was born with a physical defect of the hips and legs. Doctors told the Longos she would never run. She had multiple surgeries as a baby, and has had four or five as she’s grown older. Her last surgery was over the summer.
Raven is an athlete. She played varsity soccer her first year of high school. She excels at softball, too. Her father said she hopes to return to soccer next year, after she heals completely from the surgery.
The family moved to Maine after Hurricane Katrina, while Longo stayed behind to run the city. In Maine, Raven stood out as a skier, even though she had never skied in her young life.
She loves to dance, listen to music, hunt and fish. Her father said she had not argued with anyone in the family before she walked out of the house.
He reported her missing the evening she disappeared.
Her Christmas presents are waiting on her, including the Hoverboard and beanbag chair she’d requested.
Longo said he thought Raven was still in South Mississippi but, again, he hadn’t wanted to say more. Longo said none of Raven’s friends had heard from her since she disappeared.
“I just think it’s very important that she knows, and anybody who is around her knows, that she is loved by her family,” he said, just hours before she was found. “We hope she will be home soon.”