Missing Dallas Girl Found Alive, Well in Denton County

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The investigation has begun into how special needs student Alejandra Gonzales walked away from Sunset High School in Dallas and ended up 30 miles away from home in Denton County.

    A Dallas girl missing for more than a week has been found alive and well in Denton County, police say.

    Alejandra Gonzales, 18, was found near Pilot Knolls Park in Denton, walking along the 800 block of Orchid Hill Lane. A resident spotted the girl and notified police.

    "It just dawned on me, I had been seeing the news reports that Alejandra was missing, and I said to my friend, 'That could be her, lets turn around and see,'" said Kelly Houston, "We asked her if she knew where she was, if she was OK. She said, 'I'm fine,' and then we called 911 to report it."

    "She was dirty, she had a hoodie on, and she was carrying a padded moving blanket, which you just don't see someone like that," said Houston, explaining why the teen stood out.

    Missing Dallas Teen Found in Copper Canyon

    [DFW] Missing Dallas Teen Found in Copper Canyon
    A homeowner in the Denton County community of Copper Canyon found missing Dallas teen Alejandra Gonzalez on Thursday. The question now is how did she get so far north?

    Gonzales was found just blocks from a command post established by law enforcement searching for her.  Dallas police said the girl was checked out and appears to be fine, though she was hungry and thirsty.

    Denton County Sheriff William Travis said the girl was "delusional and quiet" and didn't say much about how she ended up so far from home.

    Gonzalez is expected to be reunited with her family, who were understandably relieved to learn she had been found early Thursday afternoon.

    "I would try not to think of it, but it was hard, it was kind of hard for me," said Alejandra's sister Jimena Gonzalez.

    "She was worried because they didn't know how they found her, but she was very happy, ecstatic that they found her. So she's very grateful," said activist Carlos Quintanilla, speaking on behalf of the family who speaks Spanish only.

    Missing Girl Stopped by Police the Day Before

    On Wednesday, a Denton County Sheriff's Deputy spotted the girl after following upon a suspicious person call along the 600 block of Chinn Chapel Road in Copper Canyon. The officer made contact with a Hispanic female believed to be in her late teens, but at the time didn't realize she was the missing teen out of Dallas.

    In a news release, the department said the "young woman acted in an uncooperative manner and appeared a bit disheveled" but that the deputy "had no cause to detain her." Additionally, the deputy did not immediately recognize the woman, but, after recovering the flyer with the teen's photo, identified the woman he spoke to as being Gonzales.

    That deputy and additional resources, including the Denton County Sheriff's Office, Denton County Emergency Management, and local police and fire personnel returned to the scene and started a search.

    The search area is said to consist of the rural horse and walking trails near a neighborhood off Chinn Chapel Road near Farm-to-Market Road 2499 in Denton County. K-9 search units caught the scent of Gonzales before sundown on Wednesday after family members brought clothes to help make the identification. However, the dogs lost track of the teen last night.

    The search continued after sunrise on Thursday.

    The sheriff's office believes someone may have provided these clothing items to her since her clothing has changed since she was first reported missing on April 23, when she wore blue shorts and a black T-shirt. Alejandra is a special needs student and may not stop or talk when contacted by the public.

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Josh Ault also contributed to this report.