MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 14-year-old girl from Texas who was the subject of an intensive search in Miami after escaping from a rehab facility in Fort Lauderdale has been found.
A private investigator is crediting an initial report on CBS4 from Tuesday, saying it lead to an important tip.
The private investigator said Jayden Henry had been drugged but was safe. Investigator Steven Sarduy said Jayden was found in Palm Beach Gardens on Wednesday night.
Jayden’s father, James Henry, who came to Miami from Texas, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench in an exclusive interview, “I am just glad. I don’t have words. That’s all. She’s alive. To know that is the comfort that I have. It’s still a roller coaster. There’s a long road of recovery ahead of us. There were a lot of people on these streets and they are homeless and they are addicted but they reinforced us and helped us and gave us good information and they were concerned for her.”
“Steven Sarduy was instrumental and we confirmed every siting of her and 98 percent of the information that we had was true,” he said.
On Wednesday of last week, some girls had helped Jayden escape from a rehab facility in Fort Lauderdale.
Her mother flew to Miami from Oklahoma and her father drove to Miami from Texas and passed out flyers and scoured the Brickell and Wynwood areas, as well as Overtown.
That’s where Sarduy had received reports that Jayden was drugged and used for prostitution.
The search also focused on the Starlite Motel on SW 8th Street and 1st Avenue, where employees told Sarduy that Jayden had been seen there with a male and female companion.
Sarduy even looked at surveillance tape at the motel but could find not images of Jayden. She had also been spotted in the Jackson Memorial Hospital area.
“We were prepared for the worst, as prepared as you can get you know,” said Jayden’s mother, Marisa Paul.
On Friday of last week, Jayden had called her mother from a blocked number and mentioned that she was heading to Miami and would eventually take a bus back to Texas.
When Paul asked how she would pay for it, Jayden reportedly mentioned she “had her ways” and hung up the phone. That was the last her family heard from her.
Sarduy says an important tip came in after CBS4’s first report on Tuesday.
Sarduy was also working with both the Miami and Fort Lauderdale Police Departments.
“We combed all the streets in the Brickell, Overtown and Wynwood areas,” said Sarduy, the owner of Indemnity Security and Investigations. “We did not sleep. We worked 15, 16 and 18 hour days. We are just very grateful to the community, for [CBS Miami] Channel Four, Peter [D’Oench]; without you airing the story we would not have received the tips we needed to find this girl and reunite her with her parents right before Thanksgiving. What better way to give back.”
Sarduy said Jayden had been drugged but was not sexually assaulted.
Jayden was experiencing some drug withdrawal symptoms but D’Oench did speak with her briefly.
“Does this make you realize how much your Mom and Dad love you?” he asked.
“Yeah,” said Jayden.
“What do you think now?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” said Jayden.