MISSING TEEN Texted Friends, “I’M SCARED”
A Kentucky teenager who vanished after a suspicious house fire sent a string of texts to friends just before she disappeared, her stepfather told The Huffington Post on Tuesday.
Brookelyn Farthing, 18, was last seen June 22 at a home in Berea, a small city located about 40 miles south of Lexington. The morning Farthing disappeared, the home she was visiting was damaged by a small fire.
Prior to the fire, Farthing sent several text messages, including one that said, “I’m scared,” according to her stepfather, Randall Walker.
“She started texting people to pick her up and give her a ride home,” Walker told HuffPost. “She was texting her ex-fiance — they were separated but still friends. He was at work and she texted him that he needed to come get her when he got off work. At 4:26 that morning, she texted him to hurry ‘because I’m scared.’”
According to Walker, investigators told him that hours before the text message was sent, Farthing attended a party with a friend. She was supposed to ride home with that friend after the party, but the two got into an argument and the girl left without her.
“Another friend of hers was drunk and needed to get home,” Walker said. “A gentleman known to Brookelyn’s ex-fiance was at the party and he offered her his vehicle to give the boy a ride home.”
From what information Walker has been able to gather from investigators, Farthing purportedly drove her friend home in the man’s vehicle and then had to bring the vehicle back to the man’s house — a home with no electricity that was in foreclosure.
It was not long after Farthing arrived at the man’s home that she started to text friends about needing a ride.
“There was another text was sent from Brookelyn’s phone at 5:30 a.m., an hour before her ex-fiance was to get off work and come pick her up. The text said, ‘Never mind, I’m okay. I’m going to a party in Rockcastle County,’” Walker said.
“I do not believe that was a text from Brookelyn,” he continued. “I think something had already happened between the time she sent the text [in which she said] that she was afraid and that text. She had plans for the next day and would not have gone off to another party,” Walker said.
At about 7 a.m., the owner of the home Farthing was visiting called the fire department and reported a blaze inside the home. The fire was extinguished before it got out of control, leaving a burned couch and a hole in the floor, police said.
Farthing was not inside the home when firefighters arrived on the scene. The homeowner allegedly told police that he had to leave and take care of a horse that morning. According to police, he said that, when he left, Farthing was sitting on the couch smoking. When he returned, she was gone and the couch was on fire.
Walker said something about the fire doesn’t add up. “I don’t believe Brookelyn set that fire,” he said. “I think the fire was set to throw people off.”
Trooper Robert Purdy, a Kentucky State Police spokesperson, said the fire plays a key role in the investigation into Farthing’s disappearance, but did not elaborate. “The fire is a pretty integral detail in that investigation,” he told HuffPost.
Aside from the texts and the fire, Walker said he finds it disturbing that some of his stepdaughter’s belongings were found inside the home.