It had been four agonizing days for a Wakulla County family as they waited to hear from their 12-year-old daughter. Reported missing Sunday morning, Briana Schultheis was located in Georgia Wednesday and is now safe back home in Florida.
Her mother wants to thank the public for their prayers and support. Nora Jean Schultheis held back tears at a press conference Thursday where she thanked the public and the media for their help in locating her 12-year-old daughter.
Nora Jean said, "I can’t tell you the joy that's in my heart. I got my baby and we got him and she's going to be better. You all have been so instrumental. Wakulla County, I knew there's a reason why I wanted to stay here."
Briana Schultheis was reported missing Sunday morning. Authorities say she had been in the company of 30-year-old Raymond Lewis, a registered sex offender from Leon County, and was believed to be heading to south Florida.
MAJ Maurice Langston of the Wakulla Sheriff's Office says, "Initially we thought he would go to the Pompano area here in Florida, but later on we found out the ticket had been purchased for Atlanta, so we focused our attention on the Atlanta area.”
The two were discovered Wednesday in Douglasville, Georgia walking along side a road. Lewis was arrested without incident. Now, Briana's mom is asking the public for privacy.
"She has been through so much and she's a 12-year-old baby and her daddy and I want to bring her all the way through this. This is not over yet she needs a lot of love and support. She needs her friends, but she also needs her privacy."
Raymond Lewis will face federal charges of transporting a minor across state lines. He will also face state and local charges.