One year later, Ballantyne teen's disappearance still a mystery, FBI offers reward

One year later, Ballantyne teen's disappearance still a mystery, FBI offers reward

On a South Charlotte street, yellow ribbons flutter on mailboxes outside as a mother and a father wait for their daughter inside. Anthony and Shauna Burns have repainted Hailey's room purple, her favorite color. They've spent the last 367 days wondering where their child is.

"I've written this many letters to her because I can't talk to her and I have so many things to say to her. And I can't say them so I just write," Anthony said.

Hailey was 16 when investigators say she walked out of her house on Baldwin Hall Drive in the early morning hours of May 23, 2016. She didn't have a phone or any money and her parents haven't heard from her since.

"I feel like I should have appreciated everything so much more and showed her how much I cared about her when I had the chance, and now you don't have that chance and all you can do is think about the opportunities that you missed," Anthony said.

So where did Hailey go? FBI agents believe the answers may lie online. Shelley Lynch is the bureau's Public Affairs Officer.

"She had a number of different accounts on social media platforms, some of which were not mainstream accounts," Lynch said.

According to agents, Hailey's presence reached far past Facebook and Instagram and into the dark corners of the internet that many know nothing about.

"Some that were even coming from foreign countries. So that makes it a lot more challenging for law enforcement," she said.

The Burns' say they did everything to keep their daughter safe, even taking away her electronic devices.

"She was not allowed a Facebook or an Instagram or a Twitter. She was not allowed a phone. She found a way to get around every single thing that we put up," Shauna said.

Hailey had Aspergers - and her parents admit they'd struggled with her in the past - which is why they say they watched her so closely. But now they believe she was gaining online access at school and through friends.

"Don't think you're so smart that you don't know what your kid is doing. That you're on top of it all the time, that you have all the answers - you don't," Anthony said.

Since Hailey left, Anthony has started writing poetry for her, something he says his daughter loves. Now he just hopes Hailey hears his words and comes home.

"Not a day goes by that I don't feel that same sense of loss," he said.

If you have any information about Hailey's disappearance, tips can be submitted online at www.tips.fbi.gov. You can also call the FBI's Charlotte Field Office at (704)672-6100.

Any information leading to an arrest could warrant a reward up to $15,000.

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