UPDATE: Missing Jersey City Girl Found, Safe

Brittany Michelle Navarro, 14, missing since Thursday night, was dropped off at the headquarters of a residential group home for troubled youth Sunday at around 5 p.m.

A Jersey City girl believed to have run from a center for troubled youth in Newark was safely returned late Sunday afternoon.

At roughly 5 p.m. Sunday, Brittany Navarro, 14, emerged from a Newark police car at 284 Broadway, the headquarters of Youth Consultant Service (YCS). YCS is the state's largest provider of services for troubled youth.

Navarro had been missing from the residential group home since Thursday night when she broke off from a group of friends at Branch Brook Park at about 11:45 p.m. A search effort was conducted by authorities from the Essex County Sheriff's Department, Newark Police and Navarro's family.

The girl approached the steps of the Gothic-styled building wearing a yellow top and jeans and appeared to be in good spirits. She was greeted by a group of friends who were seen hugging the teen. At the time of her disappearance, she had been wearing a pink top with blue jeans.

Newark Police spokesman Sgt. Todd McClendon said Navarro was recognized by a resident on the 200 block of Court Street. The resident held Navarro until Newark police arrived at 4 p.m., McClendon said. She was unharmed.

A representative of YCS declined to answer questions on scene. It's unclear exactly what transpired to prompt her disappearance, but her stepmother Maria Navarro said she believes a friend of the girl recently moved into Newark from Jersey City and she had been staying there since Thursday night.

The juvenile is expected to be released to the custody of her father, Victor, McClendon said.

This report was last updated at 8:35 p.m. Sunday to include statements from Newark Police.

Previous coverage, first published Saturday at 12:43 p.m. and updated at 3:31 p.m. Saturday:

A Jersey City family is pleading for the safe return of their 14-year-old daughter who went missing in Branch Brook Park in Newark late Thursday night.

Brittany Michelle Navarro was last seen at the bridge in the park with three fellow housemates of a YCS residential group home in Newark. She was reportedly wearing a pink dress and navy blue leggings and sneakers.

According to Victor Navarro, Brittany's father, she was last spotted at 11:45 p.m. She's believed to have been climbing down a fire escape in the center of the park, then breaking away from the other girls.

Brittany has not been seen or heard from since.

"This never happened before," Victor said Saturday morning. "She never left the house and stood out like that. This is the very first time for something like this."

The Essex County Sheriff's Department confirmed the agency is aware of Navarro's disappearance. A spokesman said they've been working with Newark Police in searching the park and posting flyers. He referred questions to the , which did not immediately return requests for comment.

Thus far, those efforts have not led to Brittany, who stands approximately 5'2" and weighs about 90 lbs.

"The amber alert was not issued because they say she is a runaway," Victor Navarro said. "They don't believe she was abducted or kidnapped."

Carmen Correa said her niece Brittany spoke of leaving the center a few weeks prior with plans of returning to her home, NJ.com reported. 

Victor Navarro was skeptical his daughter would leave the program without contacting anyone. The family has reached out to all of her associates, he said, but they've reported no contact with Brittany. She does not have a cell phone, as it's forbidden by the program, he said.

YCS is the state's largest provider of services for kids with emotional and behavioral problems, serving about 1,500 kids in New Jersey. Brittany, who according to her father has ADHD, has been residing at one of its Newark residential facilities. She is scheduled to remain at YCS through December, Victor said.

YCS did not respond to messages left Saturday morning.

"She may have left the program but I think by by now she would have contacted somebody or ended up going back to the program," Victor told Patch. "The bridge [in the park] she left was from Newark. She's from Jersey City...she knows nothing about Newark."

The family called national organizations, including Gema Runaway Squad and The National Center for Missing Children in the hope Brittany emerges soon.

"If it's a matter of her being worried she's in trouble, it's not like that," Victor said. "We just want her home safe and sound. We love her."

Whatwho July 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
If she didn't know anyone in Newark then this should be an amber alert what are they waiting for a dam body!!!
Stephanie Torres July 21, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Ch.12 or any news Chanel call and they'll be more then happy to tell n listen to ur story bc it makes the system look bad
Josephine July 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM
I know it sounds bad but they need to get a search team together,print out maps of the park from google & search the water,or any area for drag marks,incase she was dragged somewhere. They need to search that park inch by inch. Leave nothing un-turned. They need to reach out to people and ask for help in the search. Make more flyers n hand them out door to door. They should question the girls that were with her as to why they returned & she hasnt.
Rose July 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Poor child, I believe her parents and the "System" has failed her... Only nowadays is a child "sick" and is placed in a city run "Home" instead of the parents doing right by them and caring and nurturing the child.... And to top it off she's Hispanic therefore not front page news... Unfortunately if she where white there would be search parties for her and even the mayor getting involved ... I hope and pray this child is found alive may the Lird bless and protect her.
Rose July 22, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Poor child, I believe her parents and the "System" has failed her... Only nowadays is a child "sick" and is placed in a city run "Home" instead of the parents doing right by them and caring and nurturing the child.... And to top it off she's Hispanic therefore not front page news... Unfortunately if she where white there would be search parties for her and even the mayor getting involved ... I hope and pray this child is found alive may the Lord bless and protect her.
jacob July 23, 2012 at 02:04 PM
thank god she is safe, it gives me the shivers to think what kind of animals are runing out there, thank you father.
lisa August 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Thank goodness she's safe. I just want to know one thing.. if the child was at someone house "a friend" why didn't the Parent asks to call Brittany home to asks for permission to stay Over!! What is wrong with these gaurdians... today...all of this could've been resolved!
LAVITA August 13, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Such a beautiful girl. I'm happy that she is safe. Hope that she goes on to be the best that she can be. This was a scary situation and could have really had bad results. Thank GOD she safe.
shayla October 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM
i go there every friday an di glad she is home sfatly becaus ei say the signs hanging up
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