KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Overnight Friday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that a 16-year-old girl at the center of an AMBER Alert issued earlier this week had been found safe in Mississippi. The 18-year-old man she was last seen with was taken into custody.
“Great news! Holly Piper has been located by authorities in Mississippi and is safe,” the TBI stated in a social media update Friday. “Dylan Usry has been taken into custody. Thank you for helping us get the word out!”
No further details on Piper or the circumstances of her recovery were yet available; however, the Knoxville Police Department said Friday the two were located by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Laurel Police Department and Jones County Sheriff’s Department at around 1 a.m. Friday morning.
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An AMBER Alert was issued on Wednesday by the TBI for a missing East Tennessee 16-year-old who was last seen in the Knoxville area. Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland said Holly Piper was last seen on Cumberland Avenue around 3 a.m. on Feb. 19.
According to Erland, the teen was believed to be with an 18-year-old named William “Dylan” Usry. He added that Usry has a criminal history including a DUI, multiple counts of aggravated assault, evading arrest and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony from a prior incident in Oak Ridge.
“Usry has a court date on those charges on March 2, and it is believed that he is actively fleeing to avoid his court date and that he has possibly coerced Holly into leaving against her will,” Erland said in the news release.
Authorities believe Piper was picked up on Feb. 19 in a white 1999 Dodge Caravan. East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers said the vehicle may have a front bumper damaged and rust on the roof.
Authorities say nearly 400 people go missing in Tennessee each year. That’s five people for every 100,000. Check this list of people missing from East Tennessee to see if you can help locate someone.