LUBBOCK, Texas — The family of a local teen, Mattie Worley, who’s been missing since Friday, is calling for the public’s help to bring their little girl home.
“[Mattie] is my first-born child, and we love her dearly. We want nothing more than for her just to be home,” Mattie’s father Ben Worley said, holding back tears.
The Worley family’s new reality is every parent’s worst nightmare. Fourteen-year-old Mattie was last seen after school on November 13 outside of Terra Vista Middle School, walking toward Upland Avenue, according to the Lubbock Police Department.
When Mattie didn’t come home from school on the bus with her sister, her family immediately sounded the alarm and alerted the school’s principal and police.
Her parents describe their daughter as a bright kid who loves to write and has a great sense of humor.
“She was a very smart, very intelligent kid — always seemed a little bit more mature for her age group with her humor and her intellect,” Worley said.
The last few weeks before she disappeared, Mattie’s family said the eighth-grader hadn’t been herself, withdrawing from her family and turning to social media and online chatrooms, such as Discord and Omegle, which they said were dangerous. Now, they fear the worst. Worley said he believes his daughter was the victim of an online predator.
“I think she was in a bad place mentally and was easily coerced into a situation she thought was one thing and turned out to be something else. She’s possibly in a very dangerous situation now,” Worley said.
“We’re really scared,” Mia Vann, Mattie’s stepmother, also said.
LPD said investigators are still looking into what happened to Mattie, and while they would not disclose any details on the investigation, LPD said it had several leads at this time. Investigators urged anyone with information on Mattie’s whereabouts to call them at 806-775-2865.
For now, all Mattie’s family can do is wait, they said, and pray that their little girl can come home soon.
“The support we’ve gotten [from the community] is just unreal,” Worley said.
“There are so many people that care about her … To us, it’s touching, and it’s kind of a bittersweet thing because we know that she was having a hard time because she was sad and lonely. And the thing is everyone cares about her so much,” Vann said.