After reported sightings, police now investigating missing Hilliard teen as a runaway

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New information has led authorities to classify a missing central Ohio teenage girl as a runaway, according to the Columbus Division of Police.

Payton Young, a 17-year-old Bishop Watterson student, was last seen on Sunday, Jan. 21. Her vehicle was recovered that night at Hayden Run Falls Park.

Police say they found a suicide note on her cellphone along with a website on how to hold your breath underwater. Columbus Police initially searched the area around the park and sent dive teams in the Scioto River.

That search was called off after several reported sightings and new information uncovered by police in their investigation.

Columbus Police believe Payton is with a man, who appears to be in his 20s, that is unknown to her family and friends. He is described as 5-foot-8-inches tall, having dark hair, green eyes and scruffy facial hair.

Payton was spotted at Steak ‘n Shake off Fishinger Road and other locations in the area.

Police attempted to get surveillance video from the other locations but say it was unavailable. In some cases, the recordings had been taped over, cameras didn’t exist, or the recording device was full and didn’t record.

According to police, Payton may be driving a small, black Honda Civic with damage above the right taillight.

Anyone with info please contact Columbus Police at 614-645-4624.

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