Parents of Missing New Jersey Teen Sarah Townsend Put Up Billboard, Offer Reward

PHOTO: The family of missing teen Sarah Townsend are setting up a billboard, handing out flyers at train stations and offering a $10,000 reward for their daughters safe return.
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The family of missing New Jersey teen Sarah Townsend has set up a billboard, handed out flyers at train stations and offered a $10,000 reward for their daughter's safe return.

"We're not giving up hope. We want Sarah back," said Laurie Townsend, Sarah's mother. "We want to reach as many people as we possibly can and that's what we're still trying to do. We want her safe out there. Somebody has to know something, somebody has to say something."

Sarah, 18, has been missing since Monday. The Florence, N.J., teenager left in the morning and never arrived at Allentown High School. Her boyfriend found her car at nearby Green Acres park. The car was still running and her purse and cell phone were inside.

"She put her shoes on and said, 'Bye mom and dad, love you,' and was out the door rushing to school and she hasn't been seen since," Laurie Townsend said.

Burlington Township police called off the search for the girl on Tuesday after an extensive search of the park that included 250 people. The park is hilly and tick infested with a tidal creek that is about two miles from the Delaware River, Burlington Township Police Director Walter Corter said.

"There was an indication that this young lady, Sarah Townsend, was possibly going to harm herself," Corter said. "No one is a suspect at this point. It's a missing persons investigation."

Corter would not say where police got the tip that Sarah might harm herself. Sarah's family denied those claims, saying the teen was in good spirits and did not want to harm herself.

"Sarah was planning on going to two proms. She bought her dress and was talking about how she was going to do her hair. That's somebody that was planning on something," Townsend said.

Sarah is set to graduate from high school next month and was considering studying to nurse or being a flight attendant.

"She's bubbly and sweet, smiles a lot. She can be a little quiet but once you get to know her, she's a very sweet girl," Townsend said.

The family said they do not have any leads on what happened to Sarah.

"I don't know and that's such a scary part. We just don't know," Townsend said. "It's every parent's worst nightmare and it is coming true before our eyes."

Townsend wouldn't comment on her daughter's boyfriend and his relationship with the Townsend family. Police have said he is not a suspect.

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