TAMPA (FOX 13) - The search for a missing New Tampa teenager ended tragically Friday morning after police found the body of Hailey Acierno in a park, the apparent victim of a suicide.
"We have found Hailey. It's not the outcome we were hoping for," Chief Eric Ward solemnly said late this morning. "It's a very tragic incident."
The 17-year-old had last been seen in the Arbor Greene neighborhood, near Cross Creek Boulevard, back on March 28. For days, her family has been begging for help on social media while organizing searches of nearby Flatwoods Park, where she was known to spend time.
Yesterday, several law enforcement agencies joined in the search from the air and on the ground. Police closed the park to the public as they looked for her, but did not find anything significant.
"It's a lot of work to go through there and you can't see very far, so it's really time intensive and personnel intensive. We're just taking it piece by piece, acre by acre," Steve Hegarty, Tampa police spokesman, said at the time.
Friday morning, they were back at it. But after just a few hours, police asked media to leave the scene and erected crime scene tape. Soonafter, they confirmed that her body had been found in the woods about two miles from her home, near one of the areas she liked to visit.
Investigators do not suspect foul play, the chief added.
Stay with FOX 13 for more.