This story was updated Friday, June 4, 2021, at 7:54 p.m. with more information.
A young woman reported missing from Chattanooga two years ago is apparently posting on social media, saying she was not kidnapped.
Daphne Westbrook, now 18, was reported missing in 2019. Authorities reported last week she was found safe in Alabama, but she has not returned to her mother in Chattanooga.
A post in her name appeared on Facebook over the Memorial Day weekend.
The post came Saturday, the day after the teenager was located by authorities during a traffic stop in Alabama. The post was made on a new account using the teen's name.
"I was not kidnapped!!!!" the post reads. "I just ran away from home, chill out people and leave my family alone!"
Then the account posted a video publicly with the caption "Hello everyone thanks for your concern but I am and have been a-okay! My dog's name is Frank btw and he must be contained or he'll chew the hotel couch so dont feel bad for him!!"
In the 20-second video, Westbrook appears to record herself saying that the account belongs to her and that she's fine.
"Hello, it's Daphne. And in case you wanted evidence that it's me to anyone that [inaudible] because I saw some people responding on the post I just put up, not thinking it was me," she says in the shaky video, before shifting to a front-facing view to show a hotel room.
"So I don't know what that's about, but as you can see I am," she says before the audio cuts out as she pans around the room, showing a dog kennel and several personal items.
The video ends with muffled audio and a close-up shot of the dog in the kennel with a book placed on the edge, facing the camera.
The book is "The Institute" by Stephen King, a novel about teenagers being kidnapped, which came out in 2019, about a month before Westbrook was reported missing.
Daphne's noncustodial father, John Oliver Westbrook, is wanted by the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping, for allegedly holding Daphne for some portion of the last two years, after she never returned from an October 2019 visit.
A spokesperson for the office said on Friday that officials are aware of the video and cannot confirm its authenticity. The office declined to comment on what impact Daphne's apparent social media posting would have on charges against her father.
Last week, after the teen was found in a traffic stop, Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston said that the office is still looking for the father.
"We are thankful Daphne is safe and no longer being held by her father. It is especially gratifying to be able to tell her mom that Daphne is free and no longer being hidden," Pinkston said in an emailed statement. "This doesn't change our goal to find and prosecute John Westbrook. Our investigation remains active, and we expect new developments within the next couple of weeks."
Rhona Curtsinger, Westbrook's mother, confirmed for the Times Free Press that it was in fact her daughter in the video.
"She's still not responding to me, and it's heartbreaking because I know she's not OK," Curtsinger wrote in a text message Friday. "But I am so very grateful to have seen her video at least."
The DA's office raised the alarm about Daphne Westbrook in March.
"Daphne is being held against her will, unable to communicate with the outside world," a release said at the time. "Our investigation shows she is endangered both physically and mentally."
The DA's office at that time described John Westbrook as "an IT expert specializing in security, blockchain technology and bitcoin" who is "communicating in a way that's almost impossible to trace."