Would-Be 'Model' Missing From Mall

Police in the Phoenix area are searching for a 19-year-old girl who, police say, may have been duped by a couple who approached her in a mall Friday and persuaded her they could help her become a model.

Miya Lillie's mother described her to The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm Thursday as "overly trusting."

Since word of Lillie's disappearance got out, police say, more than 30 other girls in the area have told authorities they were approached by a couple with a similar story.

Lillie works at a Mesa, Ariz., mall. Friends who were with her there Friday tell police she was approached by a couple asking if she was interested in becoming a model, for $300 to $400 an hour. She took their card.

That night, Lillie went to TGI Friday's restaurant in the same mall and met them again. They sat down to talk, and that was the last time she was seen.

Someone at the restaurant who saw Lillie says he also saw the couple go into a nearby store. That store has security video of the couple. Authorities say some of the young girls who called them about being approached by the couple said the ones in the video are the same pair who approached them.

"We're not classifying them as suspects right now," Mesa Police Sgt. Chuck Trapani told Storm. "They're considered persons of interest. We're trying to identify (the people on the surveillance tape) because they were the last people seen with Miya. So we're trying to get hold of these people, whether Miya is there with them willingly or not. … Hopefully, they have information on Miya's whereabouts."

One is described as a black male, about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a thin hairline-type beard. The female is described as Hispanic, about the same height, with dark hair that has blond highlights.

Lillie's mother, Diane Martin, says it wasn't like her daughter not to show up for work.

"She never misses work, and if for some reason she can't make it to work, she calls in and let's them know ahead of time," Martin said. "She likes to be there a half-hour to an hour early, always."

"She's a really sweet, outgoing girl," Martin continued. "Really loving. Overly trusting. Pretty naive, and she's just a really sweet girl. And it's sad that she's so naive like that, but we just — we miss her."

Mesa police urge anyone with any information about Miya Lillie's whereabouts to call them at 480-644-2211.
  • Brian Dakss

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