Indiana teen who disappeared in April while walking to her bus stop was found safe in Florida

Grandma and aunt of missing Indiana teen are arrested and charged with KIDDING her and holding her in a Florida hotel room for four months after police found 14-year-old

  • Aaliyah Ramirez, 14, of Syracuse Indiana, went missing on April 27 after attending school, prompting a large-scale search to find her
  • Police found her in the custody of her grandmother, Elizabeth Sands, 47, and aunt, Allissa Sands, 25, in Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Aaliyah’s mother, Ashi Aspy, claims her own mother kept the teen in a hotel
  • Police suspected Ramirez was near relatives, but previous searches of their home came up empty
  • Aaliyah’s case was featured on Dateline and In Pursuit with John Walshu


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An Indiana teenager who has been missing since April has been found safe in Florida nearly four months later, as her grandmother and aunt are arrested and charged with kidnapping her and holding her in a hotel room.

Aaliyah Ramirez, 14, of Syracuse Indiana, was last seen going to her bus stop on April 27 before suddenly disappearing, sparking a full-scale search by Indiana state police.

The investigation led them to Palm Beach County, Florida, where police arrested Elizabeth Sands, 47, and Allissa Sands, 25. Elizabeth is Aaliyah’s grandmother and Allissa is her aunt.

Aaliyah’s mother, Ashi Aspy, accused Elizabeth and Allissa of keeping the teen in a hotel room for months.

Police confirmed that Aaliyah had been located safe and alive, but did not comment on details about the case. WPTV reports.

Aaliyah Ramirez went missing on April 27 as she left her home in Syracuse, Indiana.  Police tracked her to Palm Beach County, Florida

Aaliyah Ramirez went missing on April 27 as she left her home in Syracuse, Indiana. Police tracked her to Palm Beach County, Florida

Elizabeth Sands

Elizabeth Sands

Allissa Sands

Allissa Sands

Elizabeth Sands, Aaliyah’s grandmother, left, and Aaliyah’s aunt Allissa Sands, were arrested

Aaliyah’s dance teacher, Hailey Toy, who has been comforting the family for the past four months, said she began to tremble when she heard the teen had finally been found. WNDU reported.

“I ran through this apartment. It felt good. The fact that she was found safe… it makes me feel so good. I’ve always hoped she was alive,” Toy said.

Aaliyah’s disappearance case came into the limelight when it was featured on hit TV shows such as Dateline and In Pursuit with John Walsh.

A video of her leaving her home on Parkway Drive to go to school, recorded with a Ring door camera, was shared online and a social media campaign broke out online featuring the #FindAaliyahRamirez.

Photos of Ramirez circulated with the hashtag #FindAaliyahRamirez after she went missing

Photos of Ramirez circulated with the hashtag #FindAaliyahRamirez after she went missing

Photos of Ramirez circulated with the hashtag #FindAaliyahRamirez after she went missing

Syracuse Police issued a silver alert for Ramirez . on Aug. 30

Syracuse Police issued a silver alert for Ramirez . on Aug. 30

Syracuse Police issued a silver alert for Ramirez . on Aug. 30

On April 30, three days after she went missing, a silver alert was issued and it remained active during the search.

Her father, Anthony, had told Dateline NBC in May that he believed someone had kidnapped his daughter and said she wasn’t the type to run away.

“I just want my daughter back home,” Anthony said. “I want her to be found safe.”

Syracuse and Indiana State Police had suspected that Aaliyah was in Palm Beach County with her other family members, and said they believed she was in danger.

Elizabeth and Allissa Sands are both being held in the Palm Beach County Jail.

No charges have been filed against the women, police said.

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