CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The FBI is posting a missing Ballantyne girl’s picture nationwide in the hope someone will have information that will help locate her.
Hailey Elizabeth Burns, 16, vanished after walking out of her home on Baldwin Hill Drive in Ballantyne on May 23.
Her mother had checked all the doors the night before and they were all locked, but when the family went to wake her for school the following morning, she was gone and the front door was wide open.
Now, nearly a month later, her father, Tony Burns, recalled the moment he found his daughter gone.
“It was the worst feeling you could ever imagine. You feel completely out of control. You don’t know what to do. You just panic,” Tony said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police began their investigation and were joined later by the FBI.
FBI spokesperson Shelley Lynch said Thursday afternoon, “Anytime you are talking about a missing child, there is reason to be concerned, even if the child walks out on their own. She is still 16-years-old and can’t make decisions like an adult.”
Her family says they tried to limit their daughter’s use of computers after discovering she had been talking to strangers online.
They said she did not even have a cellphone, but still they believe she was able to communicate with someone and left to meet that person.
Her father says they tried everything to keep her away from social media.
“We notified the school. We notified her therapist. We had everyone that was helping her, yet she still found ways to get around it,” her father said.
Hailey, her family said, also has Asperger's Syndrome and left home without her medication.
The FBI spokesperson said that was, “Another reason why we want to bring in the assistance of the public and add that missing child poster to FBI.gov which has 7 million hits a month.”
The family says Hillary’s disappearance has caused a “hollowness” for the family that won’t be filled until she is found.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Burns should contact the FBI's Charlotte Field Office at (704) 672-6100, or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers tip line at (704)334-1600.