Sarah Townsend’s Mother Pleas For Help In Locating Missing Teen

BURLINGTON Twp., N.J. (CBS) — Even though the police search has ended at Burlington Township Park where Sarah Townsend’s car was located Monday, area residents — including Bill Welch, father of the missing 18-year-old girl’s boyfriend Matt Welch — continue to comb the area looking for her.

The mother of Sarah Townsend once again made an emotional plea for her safe return, and with each passing second the mystery surrounding Sarah’s disappearance grows deeper.

“In my heart I feel somebody knows something or somebody saw something and they need to step up,” said Laurie Townsend.

Laurie believes that her daughter Sarah is out there somewhere, and she is doing everything she can to find her, including accepting the use of an interstate advertising billboard on Route 206 in Columbus, NJ to put up a life-size poster with Sarah’s picture and a $10,000 reward. (See related story)

“They’re volunteering donating the use of the billboard free of charge. I want to thank them. The only thing we have to do is pay the printing fee.”

Investigators confirmed Wednesday that when Sarah’s car was found early Monday morning at Sherman’s Pond in Burlington Township, the engine was still running and the driver’s door was open.

Officials have stated that they do no suspect foul play, but public safety director Walt Corter says they were concerned from the very beginning that she may try to harm herself.

Three days of searches by hundreds of people have not produced a trace of Townsend.

Watch the video…

Police say a bloodhound, employed Wednesday, tracked a scent to the woods behind a neighborhood on nearby Neck Road, but still nothing.

“We grow more concerned with each passing day,” said Corter.

Townsend’s mother doesn’t believe her daughter would try to harm herself.  She says Sarah was in good spirits days before she disappeared.

“Sarah is going to two proms this year. Before this happened she was trying on dresses.  That’s not a child that’s planning to run away, in my opinion.”

Allentown High School, where Sarah attended despite living in Florence Township, is planning on holding a vigil for Sarah and her family at 8 p.m. Monday night at the football field. Any money raised during the event will go to the Townsend family.

If you have any information, Burlington Township Police can be reached at 609-386-2019.

Reported by Robin Rieger, CBS 3; John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060


One Comment

  1. kt says:

    Wow, some of you people are ridiculous with the accusations and assumptions. I live across the street and it is definitely NOT a drug area … nothing more than any other place. I do not believe any of this had to do with DRUGS. They found a note that suggested she may harm herself. Does the story add up? Of course not but, it’s not up to spectators to decide what went on. I’m sure there is MUCH more to the story that the cops know and are not releasing to the public … with any event involving the cops, things are left out for one reason or another. What’s unfortunate is that if this was suicide – her poor family is going to have to deal with people dragging Sarah’s name through the mud. I hope they figure out what truly happened – may Sarah Townsend rest in peace. Just please, be compassionate and if you cannot do so, then keep your comments to yourself. Sending LOVE & PEACE to the Townsend family …

  2. CDFISH says:

    Car found …running and driver side door left open….

    Um who does that? That isn’t in distress either mentally or due to outside forces…ie a person doing harm to her.

    Cops gotta be saying they don’t suspect foul play because they either know she was mentally unstable…or they are trying to avoid the perp from fleeing the general area….

    Hope they can find her but doesn’t look good if you ask me.

  3. Korrin Lyszczak Durkin says:

    @Sheriff…not sure what you mean by interstate travel…Florence and Allentown are both in NJ…not Allentown, PA.
    The whole story is really shady and people can assume it was drugs or the boyfriend or suicide. BUT what if she really was taken? This girl has nothing on her…no money credit cards or anything. Sad to say but I am thinking that the abduction is sounding more and more realistic at this point.

  4. derrick says:

    Well to give my opinion I think this does not look to good and makes me a little worried because I am from Philadelphia, the last thing you want is to worry about your child getting taken this is insane and anyone who kid naps females the penalty should be death, within a short time. Because hopefully they have the right person I am sure it will come out as to what really happened but I am a bit concerned, I really think that boy friend knows something that could open this case wide open.

  5. Ashh says:

    It’s matt welsh and he has already been cleared. Also it is not a drug town AT ALL. I live right down the street. There is a police station an many school nearby.

    1. Ameri says:

      It’s sad that the “drug town” rumor flew out right away. Township is nice and quite … if they want to see a drug area they should go into the Burlington City! Hoping for her to return home safe!

  6. Laurie says:

    Who said anything about drugs? I must have missed that part, “drug neighborhood”?? I will go watch and read again, although, I’ve been following this closely. Don’t speculate, let’s just help bring Sarah home, safely!

    1. LA says:

      Well said Laurie. I wouldn’t consider that a drug area. I know someone that lives right in that area and she said that the neighborhood is very quiet and was shocked and scared when she drove past then found out what was happening.

      1. Laurie says:

        Thank you and I agree, it’s not. I had heard nothing of drugs and it upsets me when people just speculate. After all, the family and friends are probably reading these comments to possibly help in the search for any clues and they are worried and hurting enough. Pass out fliers, post on Facebook, send messages of support..that’s what would be helpful. Thank you, again, LA!

    2. LA says:

      And people are doing a lot of speculating which is just not right. You are very right … I couldn’t imagine having to go through what this poor family is dealing with. Especially with some of the comments I have read. There is a facebook page for her search ( here is the link for anyone interested!/find.sarah.townsend ), definitely passing out fliers and always keeping my eyes open when I am around there. Per the webpage – Tomorrow 5/13 “Public foot search for Sarah Townsend tomorrow, FRIDAY, at 4:00 PM at 851 Old York Road, Burlington, NJ.” My heart goes out to her family in these hard times.

  7. dawn says:

    why does she attend allentown hs when she lives in florence? more weirdness..

    1. Gi says:

      Her father works for Allentown School District. It’s an employment perk. His kid can go there.

      1. LA says:

        I heard she applied for the transfer program because she excells in Dance and they have a dance program there.

  8. Zzbar says:

    “Sarah’s boyfriend Matt Welch found her car Monday. He did not attend Wednesday night’s vigil with her parent’s and friends.” Weird. “Two proms” Weird. “Drug neighborhood” Weird. I would start to put pressure on the two prom dates and put the pressure on the known drug dealers (that the police know) in the area. More will surface as the days go by.

  9. Jim G says:

    heard that is a drug buying area. bf found the car? how did he know it was there. also heard possible drug use involved. scary… too close to home Hope she is just confused and scared somewhere.

    1. LA says:

      Jim … it isn’t a drug buying area. There is a police station right in the area. The boyfriend knew where the car was because she had called him and told him where she was. I doubt there was drug use, but there have been some allegations that she may have wanted to hurt herself.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Philly

2017 Guide To Philadelphia's Center City Sips

Watch & Listen LIVE