After all-day search, police find missing Charlotte teen who has schizophrenia

After an all-day search with canine units and a helicopter, police found a Charlotte teen whose mother said she suffers from schizophrenia.

Police searched for 19-year-old Leah L’Shae Kelley, who left her family’s Steele Creek home at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday after arguing with her mom, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Facebook post.

Kelley “was showing signs of mental distress” before she left home, police said in the post.

Kelley has schizophrenia and “was having an episode” before she ran out the back door, her mother told Observer news partner WBTV.

Kelley’s mother called 911 for help after her daughter “began damaging property in her bedroom,” WBTV reported.

Late Thursday afternoon, Kelley briefly returned home before immediately leaving again, police said in a news release.

Soon after, at about 6 p.m., officers from CMPD’s Steele Creek Division saw Kelley walking on South Tryon Street near Carowinds Boulevard, police said. Officers returned her to her home on Savannah Creek Drive, which is off South Tryon Street. She was unhurt, police said.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.