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Community members react to details after missing Conway teen is located



Conway, Arkansas – A press conference was conducted on Thursday by the Conway Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service regarding an adolescent who was returned to her home on Wednesday after going missing on January 17.

Tanvi Marupally, 15, was located after a tip was received Tuesday hundreds of miles away in Tampa, Florida, according to Conway Police Chief William Tapley.

Community members have been praying for Marupally’s safe return after she has led many search teams for the family for months, according to Jenny Wallace.

“I’m just blown away.” Wallace went on to say she felt, “just absolute relief and that it was a miracle.”

Before they were able to return Marupally to her house, according to Tapley, they had little knowledge of her location.

After conversing with her, they discovered that on the day of her disappearance, she walked north until she reached train lines rather than boarding a school bus. After she was able to catch a train to Kansas City, she started to walk north along them through the night.

The train was a freight train, as we now know.

According to Tapley, Marupally departed because she feared her family would be deported because her father may lose his job. which her father assured us in February no longer existed.

Tapley goes on to add that after boarding the train, she arrived in Kansas City on January 22nd and immediately went in search of a homeless shelter where she would spend the next two months.

“She checked into that homeless shelter under a false identity,” Tapley said.

She allegedly opted to take a bus at random to Tampa, Florida after staying there.

“She found an abandoned building that she began to reside in,” Tapley said.

Then, according to Tapley, on March 28th, a Florida resident who was at a library saw Marupally’s description on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and discreetly took a picture of her to provide to authorities.

“She was researching jobs that she could do for money off of Craigslist,” Tapley said.

By chance, according to Tapley, Marupally had returned to the library on March 29th to conduct additional research when Tampa police investigated and went there to check CCTV footage.

She was allowed to talk with police before being placed in their care. They set up Marupally’s return home and reunion with her family on the same day.

Even though he acknowledged that they occasionally disagreed, Tapley commended the Conway community for their assistance.

“We were not always in agreement, we did not always see things the same way, however we all had the same goal in mind,” Tapley said.

Wallace claimed that despite learning how far Marupally could travel on her own, she still has unresolved questions.

“What has the department done and what has the police chief done to put this out nationally,” Wallace said.

When we questioned Tapley about whether the department felt they done everything possible to locate Marupally, he responded that he thought they worked incredibly hard.

“We followed up on countless leads, countless tips, sightings, videos, all of these different things but until yesterday (Wednesday) until last night there was no viable Information.” Tapley said.

Tapley as well as US Marshall Jeremy Hammons complimented Marupally’s inventiveness.

“She was maintaining out there,” Tapley said, adding that the girl had a phone when Tampa police found her. He did not know how she had gotten the phone.

The chief claimed that in spite of this, there was no proof that Marupally had any assistance while traveling.