July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Medina girl found in Arkansas after reported missing

Sedona Griffith

Sedona Griffith

A 12-year-old Medina girl reported missing by her mom was taken to Arkansas by stepbrothers, police said.

Sedona Griffith was reported missing Thursday and was found the next day in Pike County, Arkansas.

Sedona Griffith told Pike County sheriff’s deputies that her adult stepbrothers drove her from Medina without her mother’s knowledge.

Medina police post a photo of Sedona on the department’s Facebook page on Thursday.

The girl’s mother, Brandy Bongivonni, posted her thanks to Facebook on Friday morning.

“My baby is safe and sound, and it’s due in large part to your diligence,” she said to Medina police. “You asked all the right questions and I feel safer in my own community knowing that you are the heart of Medina.”

Medina police Chief Patrick Berarducci on Friday commended his officers for their hard work in finding the girl.

“The words of Sedona’s mother, Brandy, struck me this morning as the essence of what we are about,” Berarducci wrote on the department’s Facebook page. “ ‘The heart of Medina’ were her words, not mine, and I could not say it better.”

Berarducci said the case will be presented to Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman to determine whether criminal charges will be filed.

Last year 23-year-old emergency medical technician helped his 15-year-old girlfriend run away to Florida. The man, Maxwell Leibsla, pleaded no contest to interference with custody, a felony, and was sentenced to six months in the county jail and five years of probation.

In that case, the girl was missing for more than a week before she was found.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.