Girls missing from Chelsea juvenile facility found

Published 2:09 pm Monday, December 29, 2008

Crystan Holt and Elizabeth Ezell, both 14, who apparently ran away from the King’s Ranch foster facility in Chelsea on Sunday, Dec. 21, have been located, said a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

“One of the girls was picked up last Friday and is in our juvenile facility,” said Capt. Ken Burchfield, administrative division commander at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department. Burchfield would not identify which of the two is in Shelby County custody because the girl is a minor.

The other girl was located and taken into custody this morning by the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department, he said.

The two apparently took the car of a weekend worker at King’s Ranch sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. on Dec. 21, said Wanda Dawson of Florence, the grandmother of Crystan Holt.

Burchfield confirmed the car taken by the two was that of a counselor at the facility. The car was located on Tuesday, Dec. 23, in an inoperable condition in Montgomery, he said.

Dawson’s daughter, Crystan’s mother, lost her parental rights about three years ago and Crystan had been with a foster family in Florence until November of this year, Dawson said.

“She became a typical 14-year-old and was wanting to come back home and was acting up and so forth,” she said. Crystan was removed from the foster home and had been a resident at King’s Ranch since Nov. 12, Dawson said.

Dawson said the girls made their escape when the worker went to sleep. The girls were discovered missing when the worker reported her car stolen on Sunday morning, she said.

“The worker went to sleep and the two girls hit the road,” Dawson said.

Attempts to reach officials at King’s Ranch for comments were unsuccessful.