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Local News

Missing Santa Barbara Girl Returns Home Safely

16-year-old is reunited with her family after running away Monday night

A 16-year-old Santa Barbara girl was reunited with her family early Friday after an intense, three-day search that was fueled by an Internet campaign launched by her father.

Liz Mason
Liz Mason

According to her family, Elizabeth “Liz” Mason ran away from her Mesa home Monday night. The girl’s father, Matt Mason, emailed Noozhawk early Friday to say she was back safe.

“Elizabeth Mason IS HOME!” Mason posted on his Facebook wall. “Thanks to everyone for all your efforts.

“All is well. Time to mend some fences and hearts.”

No further details were provided.

After discovering his daughter missing, Mason reported her disappearance to Santa Barbara police. But then the local film producer and software engineer, who also publishes the Planet Santa Barbara blog, decided to spread the word via the Internet, imploring his more than 1,600 Facebook friends for help in finding her.

“I think the police and the community are really working hard to help find her,” Mason had told Noozhawk on Thursday evening. “I am extremely grateful at the outpouring of help that I have gotten.”

The story shot to the top of Noozhawk’s Most Read list, with nearly 10,000 page views Thursday.

Based on internal company emails he sent and received, and with the news spreading virally on the Web, Mason estimated his daughter’s picture was seen by at least 50,000 people Thursday.

He said pieces of information had resulted from that effort. He talked with a boy whom his daughter had sent a Facebook message to on Tuesday, saying she was OK.

“I am very touched by the outpouring of support from my wonderful Santa Barbara family,” Mason said.

Click here for information, resources and live chat help from the nonprofit National Runaway Switchboard, which responds to at-risk youth and their families with free crisis intervention services, 24 hours a day. The NRS also can be reached at 1.800.RUNAWAY (786.2929). Become a fan of the National Runaway Switchboard on Facebook. Follow the NRS on Twitter: @1800RUNAWAY.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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