Search for missing Ashland teen, Hannah Thomas-Garner continues

Update 3/9/2015 Hannah has come home!

As rumors of potential sightings of Hannah Thomas-Garner in Florida and Texas continue to pour in, Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness met on Wednesday with several members of the public and answered questions about her disappearance.

Missing since November 29, Hannah was classified as a runaway and police are giving more information as to the validity of that decision.

On that evening in late November, Hannah left her Ashland home and drove to a rave party held in a wilderness area on the outskirts of town. Her damaged car was discovered in Shasta City, California two days later.

“We have to go based on the evidence and everything we have suggests that she ran away,” said Holderness.  While acknowledging the dangers of a young person traveling alone, Holderness added,  “I feel confident she was a voluntary runaway.”

Police have a single photo from the night of November 29 which shows Hannah at the party. Cell phone records show that calls were made from Hannah’s phone at about 1:30 AM from the area of the party and then again at 8:40 AM on November 30. By 9:00 AM the SIM card was removed from Hannah’s phone.

Four people have come forward with sightings of Hannah near the freeway in the Dunsmuir area. Two of these people say that the person they say looks like Hannah was carrying bags and a sign that said “Southern California”.

In recent weeks Hannah’s father, Jeff Garner hired a private investigator who made arrangements for a private lab to test some evidence from the car which was determined to be a small amount of blood. Garner says the tests confirm that the blood is human and further tests will be done to figure out if it’s from a male or female.

Holderness described how he held the piece of asphalt that was found inside Hannah’s car. Embedded glass was sharp enough that it cut Chief Holderness’ hand even through gloves he was wearing at the time. He confirmed that it’s likely that blood discovered inside Hannah’s car may have come from a superficial injury from breaking the window and mentioned that at least one of Hannah’s friends told police that she planned on damaging her vehicle .

“We know that before the night she went missing she clearly told people that she planned on going to the party and that she planned on running away, ” Holderness said.

When asked about testing the blood found in Hannah’s car, Holderness explained that the Ashland Police Department can’t send evidence to the Oregon State Lab unless there is evidence of a crime, evidence that he says is simply not there to find. He described how the car had not been sanitized before the blood was collected and there was no evidence of a significant amount of blood there that would indicate a crime.

Despite the fact that recent sightings in Florida were discredited, Holderness assured that the resources of the Ashland Police, Jackson County and Siskiyou County Sheriffs are continuing to work with family and private investigators to find Hannah.

In earlier reports Hannah’s mother Jamie Daugherty had stated that there was no sign that her daughter had taken clothing and other personal belongings with her. Since then friends have come forward and say that Hannah had been planning on running away for about six months and had several bags, pre-packed, which she had been storing in her car. They say she also planned on removing the SIM card from her phone.

Kaia Hilson, one of the members of the “Team Hannah” group on Facebook explained that the group means no disrespect to local law enforcement, but hopes that APD understands that community pressure will continue until the teenager is found.

“As Team Hannah, we’re not going to give up until she’s brought home.” she says.