BREAKING: Missing teens found safe

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two missing North Carolina girls who disappeared with their father a week ago have been located in Smith County, according to authorities in North Carolina.

Sierra Hess, 11, and Keara Hess, 12, and their father Matthew Charles Hess, disappeared last week.

Hess said the eldest of the two girls, Keara, is nine months pregnant and could deliver at any time. There was no immediate word on the health of the girls or Keara Hess' unborn baby.

Charlotte TV station WBTV reported, the girls and their step-father were located around 9:16 a.m. on westbound Interstate 40 near mile marker 256.

A witness recognized the vehicle and alerted authorities, who followed the vehicle and had Hess pull over. He is being held at the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

It had been speculated Matthew Charles Hess and his daughters were headed to Marshall County, where they once lived.

The Iredell County Sheriff's Office said on its Web site that Matthew Hess will be extradited back to North Carolina "on warrants drawn by the Iredell County Sheriff's Office for child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

This story will be updated on and in Friday's print edition of The Marshall County Tribune.