‘Gut feeling’ of Wake County paramedics helps missing teen get home

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A gut feeling by two Wake County paramedics helped get a missing teen, who was hundreds of miles away from home, back to her family.  

It happened after the two responded to an early-morning call late last month. Weeks later, that call remains fresh on the minds of medics Rick Reynoso and Nicholas Naylor.

“Right out the gate, around 6:45, trying to get the coffee in, trying to get amped up and ready to go for the day, and we get a call from our law enforcement partners,” Naylor recalled.

That call led Naylor and Reynoso to North Raleigh.

“RPD was on scene and they were telling us what was going on,” Reynoso reflected. “Somebody was wandering around that wasn’t doing well.”

Reynoso said the wanderer was a teenaged girl and she was by herself. Naylor said the circumstances made this call very concerning and he had a feeling something was wrong.

“As we are driving to the hospital, I’m thinking, ‘Something isn’t right here,’” Naylor said.

And it wasn’t. Naylor acted on his instincts and checked out the National Missing and Exploited Children’s website, but nothing turned up.

“I started to think, ‘Maybe it was a missing child.’ I started to look and couldn’t find anything,” Naylor said. He took his suspicions a step further. 

“I did a Google search,” Naylor explained. “Nothing on the first page and I scrolled to the second page.”

What he found next, confirmed the worst. 

“All of a sudden, up pops a notification from the police department in that area, they had put out a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) of a missing person and a picture pops up and it’s our patient,” Naylor recalled.

His discovery left him in disbelief.

“Oh my goodness, Rick! She’s a missing child.”

Naylor and Reynoso learned the teen girl was missing from the northeast part of the country and found in North Raleigh.

Through their efforts, the teen was connected back to her parents.

Naylor and Reynoso are glad things ended on a positive note.

“It keeps you motivated. Keeps you going to the next call,” Naylor said. 

Reynoso said it’s the small things that they do that make a big difference in people’s lives.

The medics said on-the-job training helped them in this situation, but they also studied the Blue Campaign — a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate the public and law enforcement to recognize the indicators of human trafficking.

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