FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – A mom and her three children have been removed from the local and national missing persons databases following a weekslong search, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Lauren Cook and her three children—2-year-old Elijah, 5-year-old Hannah, and 7-year-old Benjamin Cook—were initially reported missing over Labor Day Weekend. According to authorities, the family had reportedly taken a pre-arranged trip to New York, but instead of returning to Franklin County afterward, they traveled to another state and chose to stay there for the time being.
Not only did they not return to their Franklin County home as anticipated, but they also were in limited contact with their family and missed a court appearance that was originally scheduled for Sept. 5, all of which met the criteria to issue a missing persons alert, authorities said.
Since then, law enforcement has been able to confirm sightings of the family through surveillance footage and video calls, determining that they are no longer at risk.
Considering the circumstances, the sheriff’s office has closed the missing persons alert given that it no longer meets the criteria needed for an extended missing persons entry.
“The Office of the Sheriff wants to extend our gratitude to the public for their assistance in spreading the word about any missing person cases, and for reporting any tips that may lead to the location of that person,” the sheriff’s office said. “Situations like these are sometimes very complex and law enforcement may be limited as to what details can and cannot be released due to ongoing investigations. Regardless of the circumstances, the end goal of all involved is to simply locate the individual to ensure that they are safe.”