UPDATE: Missing 16-year-old found in Alabama safe, man arrested

A teenager missing since early Thursday morning was found early Friday morning in Alabama safe.

Stanly County Sheriff Jeff Crisco said Stephanie Morton, 16, was found around 2:30 a.m. in the home of Duane Howard Bartlett of Alabama.

Crisco said Bartlett, who was described in an earlier alert as a man in his 30s, has been charged with abduction.

“She was safe and did not appear to be injured in any shape or form according to the authorities there,” Crisco said.

She was last seen around 7:30 a.m. Thursday at South Stanly High School.

Crisco said Bartlett met Morton online.

“It is my understanding they had been conversing online with some sort of social media,” Crisco said.

Crisco said now he will await the extradition process to see if he will be brought back to North Carolina for trial.

“I could not be more proud of the officers that I have at the Sheriff’s Office,” Crisco said. “They never cease to amaze me with their abilities. They are absolutely phenomenal.”