While images of 13-year-old Hailey Dunn have been plastered across television sets and websites, few people probably had heard the name Elizabeth Ennen before this weekend. Authorities had labeled her a "runaway" following her disappearance on January 5. Last week, her case was upgraded to an "endangered runaway."
Due to the frequency of runaway cases, news media typically does not run stories about children classified to be runaways. An internet archive search shows few media outlets ran stories about Elizabeth's case prior to January 15.
It's not clear why investigators originally labeled Ennen's case as a runaway. Typically, it's because law enforcement can't immediately find any evidence of an abduction or kidnapping.
Last week, Ennen's family told everythinglubbock.com they were beginning to fear the worst and not much had been done by authorities to help find the girl.
"There's times I do and times I don't," said Virginia Ennen, Elizabeth's mother. "Some of the time I feel like it was just being pushed to the side because they classified her as a runaway."
"You know a 15 year old girl, no purse, no cell phone, no clothes, she wasn't even wearing a heavy coat. Why aren't we looking harder?" asked Mary, Elizabeth's aunt.
Over the weekend, the case took a stunning twist with the arrest of 45-year-old Humberto Salinas. Ennen was babysitting for Salinas on the evening of her disappearance. Police arrested him on an aggravated kidnapping charge. The Ennen family said it considered the Salinas family to be good friends.
According to affidavits, Salinas returned to the Carriage House by himself while Ennen was babysitting children on January 5. At 11:47 p.m., Ennen was seen leaving the hotel room in a hurry. 5 minutes later, Salinas was caught on tape pulling her back inside the room.
Around midnight, police believe Salinas forced Ennen inside his vehicle before driving off. He returned to the hotel room 8 minutes later alone.
According to affidavits, Elizabeth's mother arrived at the hotel around 2:00 a.m. to seemingly check on her daughter's whereabouts. Police say she was seen running down a hotel hallway roughly 12 minutes later.
Investigators are expected to release more details about this case Tuesday. It's also likely that the body they discovered will be identified as early as today.