Missing East Greenbush teen reunited with family

Reported by: Katherine Underwood

Videographer: P. Busa
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Updated: 1/15/2012 4:34 pm
The East Greenbush teenager who has been missing for two weeks is finally home.

Police say Hanna Smith was on her way north from New York City, when they picked her up late Saturday night in Albany.

“It was an awful ordeal to go through once, and I don't think I would survive a second time,” Hanna’s dad, Stephen told reporters during a press conference Sunday afternoon.

After two agonizing weeks, Stephen and Loriann Smith's worst nightmare is finally over.

“We're thrilled that my baby girl is home,” Stephen said smiling.

Their 16-year-old daughter Hanna slept in her own bed Saturday night, for the first time since she went missing on New Year’s Day.

Stephen tells FOX23 News Hanna may have been upset about some rules of their house.

“She is very bright 16-year-old girl, and she was brought up with a lot of love, but she did leave on her own, no indication that she didn't,” Stephen said.

Police say Hanna called a friend Saturday and asked him to pick her up from New York City.

Police pulled them over near Exit 23 on the New York State Thruway.

“We had the description of the car, we knew the general location where the car was, so as soon as State Police saw that car, they stopped the car,” explained Detective Sergeant Matt Breig with East Greenbush Police.

Police say Hanna was evaluated at a local hospital and sent home to be with her family.

“I cried and gave her a hug because I was just so happy to see her,” Stephen said.

Her father says Hanna apologized Saturday night and said she'd never run away again.

“I don't think when she left home there was any idea what it would do, not just to our family, but our church family, and the community,” he said.

Hanna's parents say this wasn't just an average runaway story.

Hanna is a DWI crash survivor who suffered severe head trauma.

Stephen and Loriann say her judgment is impaired and say it is nothing short of a miracle that she made it home, safe and sound.    

“All the people who have been praying for her, we hope they keep praying for complete healing so that we never have to worry about this ever again,” Stephen said.

Stephen and Loriann say they do not have enough words to express their gratitude for all the agencies involved in the search, and the thousands of people who helped bring Hanna home.

As of Sunday night, police say there are a lot of unanswered questions.

They know that on Thursday Hanna was in Rutland, Vermont, and on Saturday she was in New York City, but who she was with or how she got to those places is still unclear.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and there could be criminal charges in the case.


A missing
East Greenbush teenager was found safe late Saturday night and reunited with her family.

Hanna Smith, 16, has been missing since New Year's Day.

East Greenbush Police say they located Hanna Saturday and that she is now in the care of her parents, Loriann and Stephen.

FOX23 News spoke with Loriann Sunday morning. The family is asking for privacy, saying they are happy to have Hanna home, but this situation is not over yet.

Loriann tells us Hanna has been evaluated at a local hospital and she is physically healthy. Loriann also tells us she expects there to be further investigation into Hanna's disappearance, but Police have not confirmed that yet.

Loriann says she wants to express her deepest gratitude to the East Greenbush Police, all other agencies involved, and the thousands of people who helped get Hanna home.

"We just need a little bit of time, it's not that we don’t want to talk to the public, we do, but they need to be patient," Loriann said. "Hanna is our priorioty, our boys are our priority, our family is our priority, but we want to express our gratitude for everyone's help."

Police are expected to release more information Sunday afternoon.
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