Missing teen found wandering in San Tan Valley neighborhood

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Crystal Cruz

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 7:07 PM

Map: Near Gary and Combs roads

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SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- The teen reported as possibly kidnapped Tuesday morning was found wandering in a San Tan Valley neighborhood early in the afternoon.

Samantha White's aunt reported her missing after finding the girl's book and backpack on the ground in front of their San Tan Valley home near Gary Road and Empire Boulevard. There was a note with the books that concerned authorities although they did not release its contents.

A massive search was launched for the 15-year-old.

Investigators followed the signal from Samantha's cell phone to a nearby field. It's not clear what the proximity of that field is to where Samantha was actually found.

Tim Gaffney, a spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said somebody saw Samantha and, recognizing her from a news broadcast, called the sheriff's office.

It's not clear where Samantha has been since leaving her home for school this morning, but Gaffney said investigators are not looking for any suspects in connection with her disappearance.

While Samantha's condition was not immediately available, Gaffney did not indicate that she was injured, saying only that she was with detectives. He expected to release more information after investigators talked to her.

Original story: Teen possibly kidnapped on her way to school

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is investigating the possible kidnapping of a 15-year-old San Tan Valley girl after she left home for school Tuesday morning.

A massive search is under way for Samantha White.

According to the girl's aunt, Samantha left her home near Gary Road and Empire Boulevard (south of Combs Road) to go to school as usual Tuesday. When the aunt decided to go for a walk a short time later, she saw Samantha's books and backpack scattered on the sidewalk in front of the house.

"There was also a note which was left at the scene indicating she was possibly kidnapped," said PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney in a news alert.

Investigators have not released the contents of that note.

Gaffney said investigators checked with Samantha's school, but she never arrived there.

"At this point, we are investigating this case as a possible kidnapping," Gaffney said.

Aerial video showed officers and deputies going door-to-door in Samantha's neighborhood. They also were checking vehicles as they left the area.

According to Tammy Rose, who was reporting from the News Chopper over the scene, officers were concentrating their search on a nearby field. They reportedly pinged Samantha's cell phone. The signal led them to that field.

Samantha is 4 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 98 pounds, and has blond hair and blue eyes. No other information about the teen was immediately available.

If you have any information Samantha might be, contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office at 520-866-5111.

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