Missing girl's family issues statement, search continues

Police have issued a missing person alert for

Police have issued a missing person alert for Ashley Murray, seen here in an undated image, who left her home on Spring Lane at about 8 a.m. Monday, police said. (Credit: Southold Police)

As authorities continued their search for a Peconic teen missing for a week, her family issued a statement during the weekend thanking them for their efforts and pleading for privacy.

Ashley Murray, 16, was last seen around 8 a.m. on Feb. 25 when she left her home to catch a bus to Southold High School, according to Southold police.

Police issued a missing-person alert for the teen two days later. Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said marine units have been searching along coastlines daily for some clue as to the girl's whereabouts, and canine and aviation teams have also searched for her.

"At a certain point, you run out of places to search around here," Flatley said on Sunday. "And you run out of information that's feeding to you from different people in the community. Obviously we haven't had any really good leads to go on since this started. It's been a difficult investigation."

Flatley has said that the girl, who was last seen wearing red sweatpants, a black and gray hooded sweatshirt, and black boots, "may have left her home with intentions of harming herself."

Authorities do not suspect foul play at this point, Flatley said.

The Southold police have been interviewing dozens of Murray's family members and friends, and Flatley said investigators will continue to scour information obtained from the interviews for any clues as to the girl's location.

The agency has been joined in the investigation by the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York State Police, Suffolk County police and Shelter Island Town police.

Meanwhile, Murray's family issued a statement over the weekend thanking authorities, friends, searchers and the news media as the search continued.

"We would like to sincerely thank the community and everyone involved in the efforts to find Ashley and return her safely, and also those who have taken up the heartfelt tasks of supporting the family during this difficult time," the statement said, adding a request for privacy. "We also would like to thank the police and authorities for all their efforts and continuing support and, God willing, to a quick and happy resolution to this matter," the statement said.

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