TROY, Mo. – A spike in reported missing teens in Lincoln County alarmed residents this week. Then the number dropped dramatically in just 24 hours. Some of the answers came to the police in unexpected ways.

On Wednesday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol website listed five teen girls who disappeared since this past May. That number dropped to just two by Thursday, with William Palmer’s daughter still on the list.

“She’s very intelligent. She’s loving. She loves animals,” he said.

Palmer last saw his daughter, 15-year-old Ashleigh, on Oct. 4. He had a message for his daughter.

“You’re loved at home. There’s no reason to go anywhere else,” he said. “It’s scary out there, especially when you’ve got a little knowledge about what does happen in this world.”

Palmer said one of Ashleigh’s friends reported seeing her after school that day.

“We questioned him. He said he want one direction and she went the other,” he said. “We had other people telling us well they were walking through the middle of town together.”

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 2 it’s working several leads and it appears she’s with someone, willingly.

“Anybody can tell you they’re your friend, you know, until they persuade you to do the wrong thing,” Palmer said.

Which is why law enforcement remains on the case. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is working with the Troy Police Department.

“I always think about my kids. I think about my family and growing up and how would I want to be treated,” Major Dustyn Tienter, Troy Police Department, said.

Tienter said they don’t stop working a case just because it becomes a possible runaway.

“If we’re not trying to figure out what’s really going on, we’re not really keeping people safe,” he said.

FOX 2 viewers reached out to us in alarm this week when the MSHP listed five Lincoln County teens reported missing since May. The sheriff’s office quickly located one and Troy police found two.

“We were able to make contact with them and find out they were safe,” Tienter said.

Troy police found one child with a relative and another had been with DCFS for more than a month, but not properly reported, as found, by the state.

“Any time there’s a delay, that’s something that has to be worked on to be improved,” Tienter said.

Palmer now hoping he finds his daughter next.

“She is very trusting,” he said. “We love her very much and just want her safe.”