Friends Search for Missing L.I. Teenager

Friends of a missing Long Island teen have marshaled the power of social media and an old-fashioned, small-town sense of community to help find her.

Ashley Murray, 16, has not been seen since Monday when she left her Peconic home to board the bus for school.

The sophomore never made it to class at Southold High School, according to the district's superintendent.

Since then, Murray's picture has been plastered across social media sites, including a Facebook page titled "Ashley Come Home." People from around the country have commented on her disappearance, expressing the hope that she will be found safe.

Organizers also handed out flyers Thursday to about three dozen volunteers who gathered outside Southold High School.  

"I feel she's still safe and I feel like she's still out there," said search organizer Brianne Catapano. "We will find her."

Southold police investigators are following several leads generated by dozens of tips in the case, according to a police statement. Investigators have searched for the missing teen using a Suffolk police helicopter as well as K-9 and marine units.

Murray left behind what her brother called a suicide note, which read, "I will be dead by the time you read this."

The note also made reference to a "watery grave," according to brother Jaime Cradehl.

"A lot of us believe she didn’t follow through with the suicide," said Cradehl. "We think this is more of an attention grabber, a cry for help."

Murray was the victim of bullying for years, according to her brother and several friends. The attacks were focused on her physical appearance and her recent identification as bisexual. 

"I told her to kind of ignore it," said friend Amanda Strittmatter. "I tried to help her with that, and I thought I helped her but I guess I didn’t."

Murray's cell phone has been turned off since Monday, her brother said. She has made no attempt to sign onto any social media sites.

"I just want you to come home," Strittmatter said of her friend. "We miss you. We love you, we all do."

Southold police have asked anyone with information on the case to call 631-765-2600.

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