Mentally challenged teen found safe in Onslow County

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A mentally challenged teen has been found safe in Onslow County this morning.

Darlene Bowser was discovered by emergency management walking along Gum Branch Road. This as the search for the teen was ramping up.

Sheriff Chris Thomas said the 19-year-old was “tired, cold, and hungry.” He said they got her something to eat on their way to taking her back to her parents.

Bowser, who goes by “DD”, walked away from her home in Richlands around 8:00 p.m. Monday, Thomas said. The teen has a mental ability of a 6-year-old and the sheriff said she has walked away from her home in the past.

“Whenever us as law enforcement get a missing person we look at it from every angle,” said Thomas. “We start all of them as a criminal investigation and we clear things as we go through it. Fortunately, this panned out very quickly for us. We felt confident there was no foul play on anyone who knew her part, but we were concerned about someone picking her up on the road so that was still a factor until we found her.

There were some 19 different agencies searching for Bowser into this morning.