Teen goes missing on birthday

Published 3:47 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

By Jennifer McDaniels

Contributing Writer

A Middlesboro woman has made her fervent search for her missing daughter  public in hopes of finding out if she is safe.

Faye Ray filed a missing person report with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 9 after her 18-year-old daughter, Arabella Roy, who has her biological father’s last name, disappeared from their home. While Ray said she had been in contact with her daughter a few times through Messenger, she does not know where her daughter is, why or how she left home, or who took her. Ray has been overwhelmed with worry since her daughter’s disappearance on her 18th birthday, and now that her daughter has blocked her and her family on social media, her worry has grown into fear. It’s been over three weeks, now, with no word from her daughter, prompting Ray to go public with the missing person report in hopes that someone out there may come forward with beneficial information. Ray hesitated making the disappearance public because she did not want to embarrassed her daughter, but too much time has passed and she and her family are afraid her daughter could be in a dangerous situation.

“If she’s out there living her best life, then why hide?” an emotional Ray told the Middlesboro News during an interview on Wednesday. “Why cut off all communication? I need answers. You hear so much about sex trafficking, that it is very real and scary, and I just want to know if she is safe and mentally and physically OK. If she’s out there spreading her wings, I can accept that. She is 18. But, if she needs help, if she has gotten in over her head, I just want her to know that she has a family who loves her, wants to see her safely home, and that she has an extended family of students and faculty who care for her. I just don’t know what to think right now with so little information we have to go on.”

Ray said the day her daughter disappeared  seemed like a normal day with plans being made for her daughter’s birthday, who turned 18 on Nov. 9. She said there had been no indication that anything was wrong or that her daughter had been acting suspiciously. Ray said one of her daughter’s friends called her to sing Happy Birthday to her while she waited for her morning ride on the school bus, and that she was looking forward to a performance her high school choir would be presenting that day. Arabella is a senior at Bell County High School, a good student, and a member of the school’s girls soccer team, as well as the choir.

“I was going to bring her favorite food, Chinese, home for dinner and a large cookie cake for her birthday,” Ray said. “I was home after attending college classes earlier than usual around 4:30 p.m. I started looking for her, and her brother said he didn’t think she was in her bedroom. I thought maybe she had gone out the back door and was reading, but I didn’t find her there, either. I thought maybe she had taken her bicycle out for a ride, so I drove around the community and looked for her. She was no where to be found. When I got back home, that is when we decided to contact the sheriff’s office and they came out do do a missing person report.”

Ray said Arabella’s younger brother, who is a Freshman at Bell County High School, confirmed he had gotten off the school bus with his sister when school was over, but that he hadn’t seen her since he went to his bedroom. Her husband, who is Arabella’s step-father, hadn’t seen any sign of her since he got home from work, either. On a Facebook post Ray made about the situation on Nov. 27, which she said she made as part of her going public plight with the disappearance, Ray wrote that someone picked Arabella up near their home on KY 217 on Nov. 9 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“Someone out there knows where my daughter is,” Ray wrote in her post. “Let me be clear, if something happens to my daughter I will hold the person who picked her up accountable until I draw my last breath!”

What perplexes Ray the most is that her daughter was making plans and looking forward to graduation in the spring. She said her National Honor Society chords for her graduation gown had just come in the mail and that she was especially looking forward to her senior trip to Universal Studios. Being an avid reader and a Harry Potter fan, Ray said her daughter was thrilled that she was soon going to experience all the Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studio. Arabella had a driver’s permit and was planning on  getting her license soon.

“She was taking the steps toward her freedom in her adult world, if it was freedom that she wanted,” Ray said . “So, now we just don’t know why she is jeopardizing that if she just simply left home. Now, she is truant at school. Everything she has worked toward could be negatively effected if this has all just been a decision she made from bad judgement.”

Ray said before the Bell County Sheriff’s Office did a missing person report on her daughter, they followed a lead that she might be at a friend’s house. Not long after that lead fell through, Ray heard from her daughter on Messenger. She told her mother that she left on her own accord, was not in danger, and did not want to return home. Ray said she understood her daughter was of legal age and that there wasn’t much the Sheriff’s Office could do, but what made her daughter’s situation precarious is that she had emotional sensory challenges that made it hard for her to relate to people, make good decisions or understand and properly communicate with people. Arabella has undergone therapy and has prescriptions for depression and anxiety, but she left home without her medication. She also has some health issues stemming from being born early at only one pound in weight. Before she blocked her mother and the rest of her family, then deactivated her Face Book account, Arabella told her mother she did not need her medication and was fine. But, something did not set right with Ray. Her mother’s instincts kicked in and she sensed her daughter’s early communication was robotic in nature and did not sound like her. Ray fears her daughter was not alone when messaging her, and was possibly being told what to say. It’s Ray’s biggest fear that she is with a predator, even though she has no evidence at this point. That is why she has gone public and is looking for answers, so that she can have the peace of mind that she might have ran away from home, but is mentally and physically safe.

“She did call me and said that she left of her own accord and that she was not in danger,” Ray posted on Face Book. “Why, then, am I making this post? Because I have not physically seen her. I have not spoken to her since. I know it was her voice when she called, but I don’t know who may have been with her when she called…I am concerned for her well-being, both physically and mentally. She left without her medication, proper clothes for the weather or her beloved treasures from her room.”

Ray said the only items missing from her daughter’s room were a pink hoodie, a contact lens case, and a Disney snow globe that she got while on vacation. Ray said she didn’t realize the snow globe was missing until she saw pictures of her daughter on Face Book in her new room, which was painted her favorite color purple, and was surrounded by a pile of gifts. Ray’s current husband had seen the pictures online before Arabella blocked her family members and deactivated her Face Book account.

“I was hesitant to talk public about these photos, because I didn’t want it to be an invasion of someone’s privacy,” Ray said. “What is so weird is that in one photo, she is surrounded by a good number of gifts, and they are all items that she previously had in her own bedroom. A teenager could not have bought all those things. It had to have been an adult with money.”

Ray did confirm that her daughter had a history of talking to strangers online. She said her daughter was caught engaging in online chats with a stranger about a year ago. Ray insisted that her daughter undergo counseling for the activity, and she thought everything had gotten better. Ray found out later, though, by a family member that her daughter had resented having to undergo the counseling for the chats.

Bell County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Frank Foster confirmed that Ray had filed a missing person report on her daughter, but because she left on her own free will and was 18, he could not enter her in the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), which is a criminal records database allowing agencies to enter or search for information about missing persons.

“I did do a missing person report that night,” Foster said. “The mother called Bell Dispatch while I was still trying to locate her, stating she had spoken with her by phone. She also stated that she told her that she had left of her own will and was not in any harm. Also, that she was with a friend, and did not want to come back home. I also spoke with the mother after this by phone, of which she confirmed all of that information with me. I advised we would not be entering her due to that information, but would still be looking for her.”

Ray is a student, herself, enrolled in college courses to one day become a counselor. While she tries to stay busy with her coursework and preparing for tests, she is consumed with making sure her daughter is safe and not in danger. The lack of communication is what sends red flags to Ray and her family. She said her son was handling the disappearance the best way he knew how, and that she and her husband were continuing to pursue every lead into what might have happened to her. Even though they know it is dangerous to make their phone number public, Ray and her husband did so in a desperate attempt to retrieve any and all information concerning Arabella’s possible whereabouts. Phone numbers they provided for the public are 606-248-3584 and 606-670-7733.

Arabella has brown hair with a red cast and has sea blue eyes. She is 5’3” and weighs 120 pounds. She has a C- shaped scar behind her left shoulder from heart surgery. Ray posted on Face Book that her daughter walks a bit on her tip toes from a curvature of her spine. She wears glasses and sometimes contacts. Ray believes she was wearing jeans and tennis shoes with multi-colored hearts at the time of her disappearance.

“People ask me if I’m angry – if I’m angry at the police or if I’m angry at God and shaking my fist up in the sky at God. I am not,” Ray said. “I understand the position the police are in and appreciate they are going to look for her. I’m just asking for prayers right now. If you are a praying person, please lift up our family as we wait for news of Arabella.”