2 Missing Girls Found in Hickory


by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty by Photographer Billy Carrier

HICKORY, N.C. - Nine-year-old Tori Rieffel and eight-year-old Lena Rieffel disappeared late Thursday morning.  Their mother's boyfriend called 911 around 11:45 AM when he couldn't find the girls.

Hickory Police sent out alerts, saying they were last seen near an elementary school across the street from their home.  Chrystal Dieter with the Hickory Police Department says, "We spent the majority of the afternoon trying to locate the girls."

And then, just as cops were about to issue an Amber Alert, incredible news.  Around 3:45 PM, the girls were found five miles away at Graystone Eye.  Their mother, Candi, works as the Director of Clinical Operations.  She'd already been called home to search for the girls, but a co-worker recognized the kids.

Police say a neighbor brought them there, but investigators are still trying to sort out why.  Dieter says, "It was a neighbor unknown to the family, pretty much."

Our cameras were there as detectives, a K9 officer and other officials gathered at the Rieffel family home Thursday evening.  One of the girls, Tori, even peeked out the window at our camera.  It's still unclear what happened, why the neighbor was concerned, why the girls agreed to get in her car and why the woman drove them to their mother's workplace.

As police sort out the details, they want you to hear this:  "As far as the police department is concerned, we would like to reiterate to the public that whenever you find a child or children, the best course of action is to contact the police department, don't try to take action into your own hands," says Dieter.

Dieter tells us the family has no history with the Department of Social Services.

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