Brewton teen disappears; dogs assist in search
Published 2:02 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Story courtesy of The Brewton Standard.
“Poof. She was gone.”
With those four words, the despair and confusion felt by Jimmy and Lisa Bridges over their daughter’s disappearance is clear.
Tuesday, law enforcement and personnel from KLASS Kids Foundation were scouring the Alco area, looking for clues as to the whereabouts of 16-year-old Brooke Lee Bridges.
Bridges, 16, was last seen Sunday night at approximately 11 p.m. as she made her way to bed inside the family’s Cottage Hill Street home.
Mrs. Bridges said the family woke Monday morning to the sound of the family dog “raising sand” and a wide-open front door.
“In my gut? I think she must have opened the door to someone, and they snatched her,” Mrs. Bridges said of her daughter. “She’s 100 pounds soaking wet. She had on nothing but her pajamas and glasses. No shoes, no jacket, and it was 20 degrees that night. It was 40 when we called 911. “
Mrs. Bridges described her daughter as the “sweetest, most kind-hearted person you could ever meet.” In fact, Brooke’s noticeable blue hair started as a stand in an anti-bullying campaign, she said.
“So, would Brooke have run away? Absolutely not,” she said. “That would be absurd. Any behavior like this is so out of character for her. She was happy, go lucky.
“If Brooke had left, she would have taken her boots, her pocketbook, her camera – she loves photography,” she said. “None of that was missing. Nothing is gone. Nothing but her cell phone.”
It was that phone around which law enforcement was centering their search Tuesday, working to pinpoint its location – and hopefully, Brooke’s.
Personnel from the Brewton Police Department, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Escambia County EMA and others set up a mobile command unit next to Alco Lake. Handlers with tracking and cadaver dogs were working the woods and water around the area, searching for traces of the teen.
“This is a strange case,” said Sgt. Patrick Caylor of the Brewton Police Department. “The circumstances around Brooke’s disappearance are unknown, and we continue to follow all leads we can, but we need the public’s help in bringing her home.”
The homeschooled teen with distinctive blue hair from Montezuma, Ga., came to Brewton so that her father could work on the Georgia Pacific construction project, Caylor said.
As of Tuesday evening, no word was given as to the direction of the case.
“We believe she left home with her cell phone,” Caylor said of the teen.
“She doesn’t have a history of this type of behavior. The word is out about her disappearance, so we are asking anyone with any kind of information to contact one’s local law enforcement agency.”
Jimmy Bridges said his family has been happy in the small rental house in Alco.
“This is a great place for us,” Mr. Bridges said. “We haven’t had any problems until this.”
Mrs. Bridges said, “And the police have been great, helping us to find Brooke. They’ve worked every effort. But we don’t know what happened to Brooke. In my heart, I feel like someone has her. I say to them, ‘If you’ve got her, let her go. I want my baby home.”