HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County police are looking for a missing 16-year-old girl last seen Thursday morning in Surfside Beach. Police now say she is believed to be alone.
"We love her so very much," said her mother, Karen Spindler. "She's our only child and she's our little light of sunshine. That's it. Our whole life is her."
Marley McKenna Spindler, called McKenna, was last seen at the Chick-Fil-A on Highway 544 in Surfside Beach at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, according to a news release from HCPD. She didn't go to the first day of school at Socastee High School that day.
"She's never skipped school in her life," Karen Spindler said. "She's a great student, loves school."
A search of McKenna's cell phone revealed evidence that she left alone and not under duress or coercion, according to a news release from HCPD. A clerk found her phone in a resort parking lot Thursday. When McKenna's father, Jay Spindler, called her after school hours, the resort answered.
"That's not like her at all," Karen Spindler said. "It went to the next day and she wasn't there or didn't contact her friends. We knew that it was a little bit more than just a teenager thing."
The HCPD's investigation has revealed that McKenna left breakfast with her friends on the morning of August 20th, driving her car, to reportedly pick up a friend named Jeremy, who was drunk on Ocean Boulevard. McKenna was seen on municipal surveillance cameras driving on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. A short while after that she stops by her bank, after a change of clothes, to withdraw the money in her account (less than $100), according to a news release from HCPD.
The missing person flyer said McKenna is 16, 5'5" and 105 lbs. A Facebook post said she has brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing pearl earrings, long blue jeans, a white top, gold Jack Rodgers sandals and carrying a cross body purse.
Lt. Denis said that the person of interest in this case, Jeremy, has been identified, located and cleared of this case. The information HCPD has so far indicates Spindler is alone and no evidence of foul play at this time.
The 2002 silver Ford Escape she was driving has also not been found, police stated. It has a South Carolina license plate KFI776.
"She's not even familiar with really driving around town or anything like that," Karen Spindler said. "She didn't know how to pump gas until like two days before this happened. She just got her license."
Jay Spindler is the general manager of Sam's Club in Myrtle Beach. Employees placed signs and posters all around the store over the past couple of days. They're also passing out flyers to all of their customers.
"Every truck driver has a description of the vehicle," he said. "They have done more than I ever could imagine."
People can stop by Sam's Club to pick up free flyers to distribute. The family is in the process of setting up a fund to offer a reward for information.
Horry County Police's Criminal Investigations Division has mobilized several detectives to work this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact Horry County Police on their Tip Line at 843-915-8477 (843-915-TIPS).
"If somebody has her, she has an awesome family and she is an awesome, smart girl that just has so much to offer to the world yet," Karen Spindler said. "We just want her home."