Lena Dixon, 16, was a missing teen from Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. After weeks of searching by law enforcement, she was reunited with her mother on July 13, 2018. To help you find out more about the teenager, her disappearance, and her recovery, we’ve put together a list of six must-know facts about Lena Dixon.
Dixon was last seen on June 26, 2018 after abruptly leaving her job at the McDonald’s restaurant on Hyde Park Road in Allegheny Township.
Video surveillance showed Dixon getting into a white Chrysler 300 with tinted windows. It was believed to be driven by an older man she had met on the Internet. She was not heard from for 17 days.
In early July, the FBI was brought in to help hunt for Dixon.
#1 – Lena Dixon Went Missing June 26, 2018
On December 19, 2017, Lena Dixon excitedly posted on her Facebook page that she was “feeling thankful.” And for good reason. Dixon announced that she had gotten her work permit and been hired by the McDonald’s on Hyde Park Road in Allegheny Township.
Her post was greeted with congratulations and a number of “likes” from family and friends.
Because Dixon couldn’t drive, her mother Stefanie Held-Grantham often took her to work.
On June 26, 2018, Held dropped the 16-year-old off at work.
“We give each other a hug and kiss say, ‘I love you, I’ll see you later,’ and she got out of the car and she went into McDonald’s and that was the last time I seen her and had her physically in my arms,” Held said.
When Held returned to McDonald’s to pick Dixon up after her shift had ended, the teen was gone and her phone was off.
“It just goes straight to a voicemail that’s not even set up,” Held said.
#2 – Lena Dixon Vanished Less Than One Hour after Being Dropped off
When Held returned to the restaurant at 8:00 p.m. to pick Dixon up, she learned that her daughter was missing.
Lena Dixon told her manager that she wasn’t feeling well only 30 minutes into her shift. Dixon went into the bathroom at McDonald’s and then went outside.
Video surveillance showed Dixon in the parking lot, waiting, walking back and forth. Shortly thereafter, she voluntarily got into a white Chrysler 300 with tinted windows.
“She was walking back and forth and the white car pulls up, she gets in it, and then she’s not there no more,” Held said. “I’ve never seen the car and I didn’t know she knew anybody that has a vehicle like that.
“It is a mother’s worst nightmare to not know if your child is safe,” she added. “I need to know she’s safe and good and home with me where she should be, where she’s supposed to be.”
#3 – It Is Thought That Lena Dixon Left with a Man She Met Online
It is believed that the person driving the white Chrysler 300 is an older man Lena Dixon met online.
Held said this isn’t the first time Dixon has run away with a man.
Held didn’t know if her daughter was being held against her will by this man.
“I’m not really sure at this point. I’m not sure what he filled her head with to make her be gullible enough to believe the things the man said to her and if she’s willingly staying or if she’s being forced to stay,” Held said.
Held said there was a reported sighting of Dixon in Leechburg, five miles northwest of Vandergrift. But nothing was confirmed. In the meantime, all she could do was wait and hope her daughter contacted her.
“Please get in contact with me. I love you. I miss you. I need to know that you are OK. I want you home where you’re supposed to be with your family,” Held said.
#4 – Lena Dixon’s in a Relationship
According to Lena Dixon’s Facebook page, she was in a relationship, at least at the beginning of the year. And it wasn’t with an older man.
On February 2, 2018, Dixon filled out a pre-Valentine’s Day profile about her and her boyfriend, Christopher Miller.
The answers to the 20 questions provide insight into the kind of person Dixon is and how much she seemed to enjoy being in a relationship with her boyfriend.
Who is older? Me
Difference in age? 6 months
Who was interested first? Me 💘
Same high school? Yeah
Born in the same state? No
Worst temper? Mine
Better sense of humor? Him
More organized? Me
More social? Him..i hate people
Most stubborn? Me
Wakes up first? Him
Bigger family? Me
Eats the most? Me!
Cleans the most? Definitely me
Cries the most? Me
Who said I love you first? Me
Who’s the best driver? Neither of us drive lol
Better cook? Me…. I think.
Ever broken up? Nope
Any kids together? Nope
#5 – Lena Dixon Made Social Media Jokes about Being Kidnapped
Correlation is not causation. But Lena Dixon’s Facebook page contained a couple of references to being kidnapped. On January 24, Dixon revealed what an online app said her kidnappers would (jokingly) write in a ransom note.
“Lena’s Ransom Note
We are sending her back for
Free because she won’t stop complaining
about being hungry.
Above the note, Dixon wrote, “LOL, the truth tho.”
A few weeks later, on a February 5 Facebook post, Dixon shared the results of another joke app that asked, “Who will kidnap you?”
Above the now deleted post, Dixon wrote, “Wow. Lol.”
#6 – The FBI Helped Locate Lena Dixon, as Well as a Suspect
Catherine Varnum Policicchio, a spokesperson for the FBI in Pittsburgh, confirmed in early July that the agency had been brought in to help Vandergrift police hunt for the missing teen.
Very little was known about the man Dixon was believed to have left with, except for the make and model of his car. Authorities talked to family members and friends to gather information.
When asked how she was coping, Held said the waiting was hard and that she was “hurt, angry, sad, depressed, a lot of mixed emotions.”
“I call her phone multiple times throughout the day, I watch her social media, see if she gets on Snapchat, Facebook, anything. I’ve sent her messages through Facebook Messenger and I get nothing back,” she added.
Relief finally came for Held on July 13, when she was reunited with her daughter in an undisclosed location. The FBI tweeted on the same day that Dixon had been found safe.
“I’m happy and relieved,” Held said from her car as she was on her way to see Dixon again.
“This is what I have been praying for.”
Bruce Kirkpatrick, 55, has been charged with four felony offenses for alleged criminal sexual conduct involving Dixon. Authorities said they found him with the teenager in Michigan on July 13, and the FBI helped local police arrest him in Marine City.
Kirkpatrick is in custody on a $75,000 bond.
Lena Dixon was taken to hospital for evaluation, but authorities have not disclosed her current condition.