USA National Miss Nebraska Teen Michaela Wells left the house at 8:30 Sunday night to take out the trash — and didn’t come back. The 16-year-old left behind her cell phone and warm winter coat, leading her parents to worry about her immediate safety as overnight temperatures dipped to -6 degrees in their town of Bellevue, Neb.
“This isn’t a sign of a teenager saying, ‘I’m gonna go run away on you,'” Michaela’s mother, Theresa Norris, told Omaha’s KETV. “It’s just not like her.”
Her parents said they drove around the neighborhood to look for her on Sunday night, but “gave her the benefit of the doubt.” They reported her missing at 9 on Monday night.
Although Michaela’s parents say the teen “vanished,” authorities from the Bellevue Police Department don’t suspect foul play. Police officials said in a statement: “At this time, there is no evidence to indicate Michaela left her residence against her own will.”
Still, Michaela’s parents claim there’s no reason their daughter would leave.
“Her friends are in shock as some of them had just talked to her the afternoon before she vanished to make plans for the week,” Michaela’s parents wrote on the Miss Nebraska Teen Facebook page. Her mother told Fox News that Michaela “couldn’t get a smile off her face” on Sunday because she was asked on a date.
According to Michaela’s personal Facebook page and bio for the Nebraska State Fair, she recently graduated from a homeschooling program. She is now taking college courses. She listed her interests as “helping others in my community through volunteer work, performing Middle Eastern Dance, hitting the mats with the Sarpy Aikido Club, and teaching lost and endangered arts to the public as part of the Medieval and Renaissance Society.”
Based on the USA National Miss website, it seems Michaela simply paid a $495 fee to get her title and a chance at the national crown. She put the USA National Miss Nebraska Teen title to use to raise awareness for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), a rare condition affecting her 3-year-old brother.
Michaela was last seen wearing a thin red coat, blue jeans, a black tank top with teal shirt and black pumps. Her dad said on Facebook of the shoes: “Michaela keeps an old beat up pair of slip on pumps (1″ heel) by the door for their easy slip on and off ability when she has to just run out and grab the morning paper, fetch something she forgot in a car or do a quick chore. These are NOT dress shoes with a high heel.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Bellevue Police Department at 402-293-3100.