Morgan Bauer "wanted to start a new life and she wanted to start her adulthood," her mother, Sherri Sichmeller, tells the Huffington Post. So the 19-year-old, with just $20 in cash, left Aberdeen, SD, for Atlanta on Feb. 12—and disappeared soon after. No one has heard from her since Feb. 29. Sichmeller says her daughter found a free place to stay, in exchange for doing chores, on Craigslist. But when Bauer went out job-hunting, she returned to find her things outside with a note telling her not to return, her mother says. Bauer told her best friend she was going to stay at a hotel, but she didn't say which; soon after, her cellphone was turned off and she stopped posting on social media.
Her mom says it's completely out of character for Bauer to be out of touch with her friends: "She would not be completely silent. That's not her ... She's very outgoing." Sichmeller says Bauer looked for a job dancing at at least two Atlanta strip clubs and posted photos to Snapchat of herself dancing (they've since been deleted). On Facebook on Feb. 25, Bauer claimed to be employed by a strip club. But the clubs reached by Bauer's family said the teen didn't have the paperwork she needed to be employed as a dancer. Her family has started an Imgur page, a Facebook page, and a GoFundMe campaign to get the word out (and to raise funds for Sichmeller to go to Atlanta this week). A formal investigation was launched in Atlanta Saturday, as soon as her family was able to verify Bauer actually landed in the city.