Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — When Sheniqua Peebles’ relatives walked into the Sheriff’s Office Monday and saw the 15-year-old who had been missing for exactly one month, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
“Crying,” Ruth Watkins, Peebles’ aunt, said. “We were all crying. It was tears of joy.”
Peebles disappeared on April 9 to stay with her cousins in the Salisbury area, family members said. But she got into a strange vehicle and didn’t return home the following week.
When her mother, Tonya Conner, started getting worried, Conner began receiving strange vague text messages from her daughter’s phone.
After a few exchanges, Conner said, she called 911.
Then the responses stopped.
“She had texted me and she had told me that she said, ‘Mama, I know that you are mad at me, I know I’m supposed to be in school. I got in trouble, and got into a fight,’ and she said she has to get herself out of this and don’t worry about her.”
Deputies said Peebles had been found and was being transported to Salisbury about 4:15 p.m.
Conner, Watkins and Peebles’ grandmother met her at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday evening.
“It was just a relief when he called and we got to see her,” she said. “We were just so anxious.”
Watkins said her niece was staying in the Winston-Salem area, but she wasn’t with family members.
Watkins said she’ll find out more information about the situation from the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.
“Detective (John) Brindle said we’re just going to let her go home and we can do everything else tomorrow,” Watkins said. “He was more so wanting us to have that peace.”
When they got home, Watkins said, they had a “family reunion.”
“The house is full,” she said. “We are so happy and so excited. We’re just overjoyed.”