Looking for Alissa: Father Hunts for Rebellious Teen

A teen vanishes without a trace. Was she a runaway or a victim of foul play?

ByABC News
July 27, 2009, 11:14 AM

July 28, 2009— -- The Phoenix Police Department receives nearly 10,000 missing person reports every year. In May 2001, one of the reports was for 17-year-old Alissa Turney.

On the last day of her junior year at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Alissa was reported missing by her stepfather, Mike Turney, who told police he had picked Alissa up early from school, taken her to lunch and then dropped her off at home.

"She seemed like she was happy," Turney said of the father-daughter lunch. "She was thinking about the summertime."

But over lunch, a fight developed between Turney and his stepdaughter about his rules and her behavior.

"She wanted to ... be able to stay out later at night, and not be accountable to where she was at. And I told her, 'As long as you're under my roof, we're gonna have to, uh ... check in with Daddy, 'cause Daddy's a nervous wreck if you don't," he said.

When the two returned home, Alissa stormed off to her bedroom -- visibly upset, according to her stepfather. Leaving Alissa at home, Turney went to pick up his other daughter at school and said when he called Alissa a few hours later, there was no response.

"My dad picked me up and said, 'Your sister's not answering her cell phone. Will you try to call her?' And so we were just in the car calling, calling, calling. Got home, she wasn't there. You know, my dad was running through the house," Sarah Turney, Alissa's younger sister, told ABC News.

With Alissa nowhere to be found, Turney said he found a note in her bedroom, which said she was running away to California. Sarah Turney said her dad immediately began to panic.

"I'm the younger sister. I'm like 'She's just doing whatever, she'll be right back.' But my dad went right to work," Sarah said.

Turney said he canvassed the neighborhood, visiting Alissa's favorite hang-out spots and calling her friends. None of Alissa's friends had seen or heard from her. So, Turney contacted police and filed a missing person report. But given Alissa's age and the note she left behind, Alissa was considered a runaway.

CLICK HERE to see photos of Alissa through the years.

If you have information that might help solve the mystery of what happened to Alissa Turney, please contact the Phoenix Police Department on their website, http://phoenix.gov/police/, or by phone 1-480-WITNESS, 1-480-948-6377.