Kossuth High School senior Madison Hales was walking down Highway 172, trying to get to Tishomingo County High School where Kossuth had a softball game, when a Kossuth parent stopped and picked her up Tuesday evening, according to Kossuth's head softball coach, Steve Lyles.
School officials later noticed the girl in the area of the baseball field.
Sheriff's Department Investigator Jason Willis said Hales is back home and safe with her parents.
"I knew we played today for a reason," said Lyles.
The last three days have been a living nightmare for the worried parents, Brian and Kim Hales.
“I just want to know she is okay,” said the 17-year-old Kossuth student’s father earlier on Tuesday. “We don’t want to see her name in the obituaries.”
Madison Hales, a senior at Kossuth High School, was discovered missing from the family home on Highway 2 around 2:30 a.m.
“We were getting ready to go to church when my wife called out for her to get up,” said Brian Hales. “She never answered and that’s when we noticed she was gone. We are just devastated and have been looking everywhere since then.”
According to Brian Hales, his daughter didn’t take anything with her except the clothes she was wearing. He suspects she could have left because she was upset after getting in trouble.
“Everyone is assuming she left on her own free will, but we don’t know that for sure,” said an emotional Hales. “At this point everything goes through your mind.”
“This was totally unexpected to everyone,” added Lyles of his missing player. “We are just in shock … in 31 years of coaching I have never went through anything like this.”
Madison Hales is a team captain and third baseman for the Lady Aggie softball team.
“Madison is a great kid and very active in softball,” said Brian of his daughter, who is planning a career in nursing. “Everyone knows her.”
A call from a cell phone she was using was made close to 2 a.m. before she left.
“We are in the process of subpoenaing phone records to give us somewhere to start,” said Brian. “I believe someone is holding back information of her whereabouts.”
A prayer vigil was held at the softball field on Monday with over a hundred people showing up to lend their support. Tishomingo County High School softball players also conducted a prayer vigil the same night.
“Words cannot explain how much we appreciate the people of Kossuth and surrounding communities during this,” said Brian. “Everyone is helping in this … we are all helping one another.”
Pleas to call the Alcorn County Sheriff’s Department at 662-286-5521 or Hales’ parents at 662-462-4588 if anyone had seen the teen were placed on the KHS website.
“We believe things like this always happen somewhere else,” said the father. “No one wants this to happen to them.”
Alcorn County Sheriff Charles Rinehart said his department is treating the missing teen as a runaway case. Her name has been entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
“All you can do is pray and keep looking,” said the sheriff.
Brian Hales believed law enforcement would do all it could to find his daughter.
“It’s also my job as a parent to bring her home,” he said. “I believe she is going to come home, I just don’t know when.”
The Lady Aggies wore orange ribbons – Madison’s favorite color – during Tuesday’s night’s game at Tishomingo County. Members of the Lady Braves also donned the ribbons. A prayer vigil was held before the game by both teams.
“We all feel she is okay,” said Lyles. “We just want her back.”
That’s all everyone wants for the high school senior.
“Madison is loved by everyone,” said her father. “The tough part is not knowing, but I believe God is going to bring her home safe.”