Nipomo searches for missing teenager


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A 19-year-old woman from Nipomo named Shawna Seybold has been missing for more than a week, and her family wants the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office to raise the case to an "at-risk" situation.

MISSING Nineteen-year-old Shawna Seybold was last seen on Aug. 27 wearing transitional prescription glasses, clothes with anime designs, and a small gray backpack. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NIPOMO NEIGHBORS FACEBOOK GROUP
  • MISSING Nineteen-year-old Shawna Seybold was last seen on Aug. 27 wearing transitional prescription glasses, clothes with anime designs, and a small gray backpack.

"I had a boy tell me he saw her get on the bus by the Nipomo High School bus stop. It's so far because I feel she's at-risk, she's had a lot of depression and stuff like that. We're trying to see if the private investigator will call the doctor to release the information that can put her 'at risk,'" Seybold's mother, Kalina Seybold, said.

On Aug. 27, Shawna left her grandparents' house at 11 a.m. with possibly only her photo I.D. and some cash that she had in her wallet. Kalina and her family were camping at Lopez Lake and last spoke to Shawna the previous morning.

"A neighbor of ours found some footage that shows her walking out the house, walking out the door, and walking up Amber Way and down Glenhaven," Kalina said.

Described to be 5-foot-10.5 at 150 pounds, Shawna was last seen with dark, short auburn hair, transitional prescription glasses, wearing clothes with anime designs, and carrying a small gray backpack.

"Shawna Seybold was reported missing to the Sheriff's Office on Sunday Aug. 28, 2022. She is not considered to be at risk; she is considered a voluntary missing person," said Grace Norris, the crime prevention specialist at the Sheriff's Office. "Sheriff's Office detectives are actively investigating and are in contact with Shawna's family. If anyone has information on Shawna's whereabouts they are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Detective Division at (805) 781-4500."

The Missing Person Investigation guidelines report issued in 2021 by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training defined "at-risk" as inclusive but not limited to the missing person being in need of medical attention, has no pattern of running away or disappearing, or is mentally impaired, including cognitively impaired or developmentally disabled.

"Officers should assume the missing person is in immediate danger or at risk until the facts contradict that assumption," the report stated. "Officers and investigators approaching the initial investigation in a less than serious manner may undermine the missing person's investigation. They are more likely to miss critical information and overlook important evidence that might have otherwise been a key component to the quick and safe recovery of the missing person."

Kalina said that she has reason to believe Shawna's is an at-risk situation. Shawna once abruptly left home before, though she visited a friend's house and returned the following day.

"As far as mental development-wise, she was born three and a half months early, so I feel like she's behind in mentally developing," she said.

The Seybolds' friends, family, and neighbors put up signs across town and are sharing missing person alerts on social media. Kalina said that Shawna spent a lot of time gaming online and is worried that she might have met someone that way.

"I don't know whom she talks to; there's so much bad things on the internet. She possibly could have been talking to someone and then decided to meet them. I just worry because there's human trafficking—I don't know," she said.

Recently, Nipomo witnessed a case of human trafficking where perpetrators initially made contact with the survivor through social media. However, law enforcement was successful in putting a stop to it.

Since the beginning of the year, the South County town has reported an increasing number of missing person complaints.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 6 this year, SLO County tallied 146 missing person incidents, with 18 clustered in Nipomo, according to the Sheriff's Office crime map. As a heat map, the hottest zone appears to be the South County region spanning Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, and Nipomo. Comparatively for the same time period last year, the county reported 110 missing person incidents, with 11 in Nipomo.

"I actually did grow up in Nipomo. I remember when Nipomo was such a quiet town," Kalina said. "You could just run out on the streets and now you can't even let your kids out anywhere anymore." ∆



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