BATESVILLE, Ark. – The search continues for a girl who went missing from the Sheriff’s Youth Ranch in Batesville, but information suggests she is safe.
The girl, Hailey Hice, 15 years old, 5′7″, 220 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes, went missing from the Arkansas Sheriffs Youth Ranch (ASYR) in Independence County. The Independence County Sheriff’s Office asked the public to reach out if they find Hailey, who was last seen wearing maroon pants, black shirt and glasses.
NEA Report reached out to ASYR Chief Development Officer, Matt Cleveland, who said as of about noon Wednesday, Hailey had still not been located. The silver lining to the update was Cleveland sharing a report from a friend that she had communicated with them and said that she is safe.
“We believe that she is trying to reunite with her mother in Oklahoma whose parental rights have been terminated,” Cleveland said. “We don’t believe that she is in danger, but we do want to verify that she is safe and receiving adequate care.”
If anyone locates Hailey, please call the Independence County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 793-8838.
Cleveland also provided some background on the ASYR.
“We are not a restrictive residential setting,” Cleveland said. “A good way to think of us is a professional foster home. We have houseparents who care for up to eight children in each house and we currently have four houses. The children who live here are not bad kids, but many come from homes that have been abusive or neglectful. Many have had terrible experiences with their families, and the ASYR is truly the most stable, loving home these children have ever had.”
Cleveland said much of the confusion about the organization comes from misconceptions about the word “sheriffs” in the name.
“The reason we are called the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches is because we were founded by the Sheriffs of Arkansas over 40 years ago,” Cleveland said.
For more information, read this fact sheet provided by ASYR:
Photo from Facebook.