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Missing Somerset girl found

A 16-year-old Somerset girl who allegedly ran away from home in February was found Wednesday, April 2 in Minneapolis.

Somerset Police Chief Doug Briggs confirmed Alissa Blanco was found around 1 p.m. in Minneapolis, though he was unsure of the exact location.

Briggs said Blanco’s father reported her as a runaway in mid-February and that the family had reason to believe she was somewhere in the Twin Cities area, based on friends she has there.

The Minneapolis and Somerset police departments coordinated with Twin Cities media outlets to make an appeal to the public for information on Blanco’s whereabouts, and those efforts panned out.

Sgt. Tom Sirovatka of the Somerset Police Department said finding Blanco was a coordinated effort between the Minneapolis and Somerset police departments and the child services division of St. Croix County.

“We had done numerous efforts leading up to going to the media, which was ultimately Minneapolis’ call on broadcasting and going that route,” Sirovatka said. “We had tried multiple attempts during the time she was gone to track her down and exhausted all resources necessary to locate her as we had in the past and she just seemed to be one step ahead of us.”

Sirovatka indicated this was not Blanco’s first disappearance from home, but she was elusive this time, moving among multiple locations.

“We were trying to locate people that she was with, or may have been with, that had relevant information as to her whereabouts,” Sirovatka said. “We’d check out all the leads that we’d get and you have to sift through those and see which are good and which are not and which are valid and confirm or deny whether or not that things may have happened or if she had been in a location at a certain time.”

Sirovatka said he spent hours on the case, trying to pinpoint Blanco’s whereabouts.

“It’s a time-consuming process,” Sirovatka said. “You know we’re covering three different counties from here to there.”

Twin Cities media had indicated in appeals for information that Blanco might be in danger.

“I don’t know if that’s something based on the Minneapolis department’s findings, but there was nothing in our case file to indicate she was in immediate danger,” Briggs said. “Maybe that’s something Minneapolis concluded because of the length of time she was gone.”

Sirovatka confirmed that Blanco was not in danger.

“Everything worked out,” Sirovatka said. “She’s safe. She’s back.”

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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