An aspiring underage model from Colorado has gone missing after spending time in Venice, but folks in the know say she might have been spotted in Southern California today, not long after her car was found in the beach community yesterday.
A source close to the family of Raven Cassidy Furlong told the Weekly that police are checking out tips that the 17-year-old who went missing from her Aurora home Feb. 5 might have been spotted in the San Bernardino County town of Yucaipa:
"She's been spotted," the person said. "The police are working those tips."
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Her vehicle was found in Venice Monday after cops tracked it down via at least one parking ticket, according to reports. Inside were men's shoes, clothing and hot dogs, which Furlong apparently didn't eat.
(Our sister publication Denver Westword ran this photo of the car, which appears to be a Ford Taurus).
That led family members to believe she's been traveling with a man. This man, according to our source: 22-year-old Dionnte Paxton, a Culver City resident who says on his Facebook page that he's a 2010 graduate of Venice High School.
She said that Paxton's ID and Social Security card were also found in Furlong's car.
So did the fact that Furlong has been seen alive and is traveling with a known Venice local soften the family's fears? Not much, says our source:
We have reason to believe she is not safe.
Family members were reportedly concerned about Furlong because she posted photos on the website Model Mayhem and because she's old enough -- she'll be 18 in May -- that she might not be a priority for police in their eyes.
Model Mayhem, by the way, issued this statement to Denver's 7News:
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Model Mayhem strongly believes that safety should be top of mind when doing anything online. Because there are scams on the Internet, Model Mayhem tries to educate users about scams and how to avoid them. The site offers detailed safety advice to help members understand what to look for when they are contacted by others.... The site also has a feedback mechanism called 'Contact a Moderator' that allows any member to let site moderators know of any suspicious activity they encounter. Moderators view and respond to each and every inquiry.
We've been unable to get through to the LAPD for any information about the case.