Student goes missing during school hiking trip in Tennessee FOUND

UPDATE:  11/17/15 – Ava has been found alive.  The search team that found her is preparing to take her down the mountain on Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.

“Thanks to everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts,” Erin Zeichel, Ava’s mom wrote on Facebook. “You can’t imagine my joy.”

Zechiel’s father declined to comment to The Washington Post, but a staff member at her school told the paper the teenager had run away after refusing to hike any farther.

I find it very difficult to understand where the supervision was that would have prevented this from happening.

Original Story:  A Washington DC teen has gone missing during a school trip to a hiking trail in Tennessee.

Ava Zechiel, 16, was last seen on the Iron Mountain Trail in the Shady Valley area of the Cherokee National Forest in Johnson County on Wednesday around 2:30 p.m..  She on a school trip with the Freedom Mountain Academy which is a boarding school.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s dept. and bloodhounds have been searching for her since she was reported missing.  On Friday the authorities were going to deploy a helicopter with infrared to search for her.

Ava’s parents stated that they appreciate the help they have received from the sheriff’s department and volunteers as they search for his daughter.  “My wife and I are extremely grateful.”

The FBI has been called in to do a background check on the school.  Ava posted on the Freedom Mountain Academy’s website on Nov. 6, 2015 about her 5-day trip hiking to Gentry Creek, Gentry Falls, and Pond Mountain.

Authorities are urging any volunteers that want to search—to stay in groups of at least two or more—so that the helicopter does not mistake a searcher for Zechiel.

We can only hope that Ava is found soon as the temperatures will be dropping into the 20’s on Sunday night.

Ava was wearing brown hiking pants, a green fleet and an orange vest.  She is 5’3” tall and 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information, please call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 423-727-7761.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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