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Missing in America

Search Continues for Missing California College Student After “Ransom” Messages Deemed a Hoax

"Aly, if you are hearing this, we have come all across the country. We love you and are desperately doing everything we can to bring you home safely.”

Alycia 'Aly' Yeoman Find Alycia Yeoman Facebook Page

Those are the words Alycia Yeoman’s family released in a statement in the hope their Aly will hear them.

It’s now been more than a week since the California college student was last seen. And as the days pass, the unclear events surrounding the case grow increasingly unsettling.

Alycia, known to family and friends as Aly, was last seen the night of Thursday, March 30, just before 8:00 p.m., driving her green Toyota Tacoma truck to the residence of a male friend in Yuba City, California. That’s when all communication from the 20-year-old ended, according to officials with the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office.

Several hours later, at 10:55 p.m., security video from a homeowner in the Live Oak area picked up Aly’s truck driving in the dark on a levee next to an orchard. Live Oak is one town up from Yuba City.

The video isn’t clear enough to show who was behind the wheel.

The first sign of trouble was the next morning, when Aly didn’t show up for her scheduled shift at one of her two jobs, NBC affiliate KCRA reports. No one, it seemed, could get ahold of her. Concern quickly grew, and the Yuba College student was reported missing by family members on April 1st, according to a press release from the FBI.

A few days later, a Monday, farm workers called police saying a truck had been left in an orchard where they were working. It was the same orchard area where Aly’s car had been picked up on the security camera. It had been there for several days, and appeared to have become stuck in the mud.

Investigators found a single set of footprints headed away from the vehicle. Where exactly those prints led hasn’t been released. A resident found Aly’s cell phone later that evening not far from where her truck was located.

The situation is extremely troublesome to those who know Aly. Friends have posted on social media that Aly would never simply disappear or be out of contact with her loved ones. That sentiment was echoed in the statement released by Aly’s family last week.

“Aly has never missed work in her two jobs, therefore this completely out of character,” the statement read. "We firmly believe in our hearts that Aly is alive and needs our help.”

The fear that Aly may have been taken against her will intensified last week, when a series of frightening text messages were sent to Aly’s mother. The texts claimed that Aly had been kidnapped, and the sender demanded ransom, according to authorities.

Investigators tracked down the person who sent the messages. It has now been determined that person was not involved in Aly’s disappearance, and has no knowledge of her whereabouts, Undersheriff Jeff Pierce, of the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office, told Dateline. The text messages were simply a hoax.

“Law enforcement is working with prosecutors on potential criminal charges pertaining to this matter,” Undersheriff Pierce wrote in the statement.

Several law enforcement agencies continue to assist in the case, including the FBI.

Last Thursday, the FBI’s evidence response team served a search warrant at the Yuba City home where Aly was last headed. Information on what, if any, evidence, was recovered has also not yet been released.

The local community is clearly rattled by Aly’s disappearance. Postings on social media offer prayers for Aly’s family and hope that she will be brought home safe.

Aly Yeoman is described as 5’4” tall, weighing 115 lbs. with brownish-blonde hair and brown eyes. She has braces, a nose ring and a small mole near her left eye.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 822-7307 or the FBI’s tip line 1 (800) 225-5324. There is a $20,000 reward being offered, through the FBI and Sutter County Sheriff’s Office, for information leading to Aly.

Family members are also raising money to add to the reward through a GoFundMe page. As of Monday afternoon, nearly $7,500 had been raised.