Chapel Hill Teenager Missing
Posted September 10, 2001
CHAPEL HILL — Orange County deputies and a Chapel Hill family are searching for a 14-year-old girl.
Detectives think this is another case of a teenager who may have gotten mixed up with some questionable characters on the Internet. Her father tells WRAL that when his daughter logged on the computer, she became a totally different person.
"She wants to be accepted, she wants to be a grown up," Rich Helferich said.
Helferich said Nicole is shy and naive, but when she disappeared earlier this week, he found out something else about his daughter.
"This is a cyber-life, as far as a double-life, yeah. She's got a whole other life on the Internet," Helferich said.
Searching through computer files, Helferich found out Nicole had set up several of her own Web sites and had more than 16 e-mail accounts. One of the Web sites had only been up for a month and had received more than 2,000 hits.
"As I dug deeper and deeper, I realized, 'Oh my goodness, there's a whole other world of friends we weren't aware of,'" Helferich said.
Even though Nicole's parents had taken away her Internet privileges, her father says teens can always find ways around it.
"You go to the library, to school. As long as you have a password, you're in," Helferich said.
If anyone has any information about Nicole, they are asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department.