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Headshots of Daphne Westbrook circulated by law enforcement when she was missing.

This story was updated at 2:01 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, 2021, with more information.

A Chattanooga teenager missing since 2019 has been found safe in Alabama, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The TBI announced early Friday that Daphne Westbrook, 18, was found safe in Samson, Alabama, after a year-and-a-half search for the teen.

Westbrook and her two dogs went missing in October 2019, according to her mother, and they were believed to be with her noncustodial father, John Westbrook.

Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston said Friday 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."

According to a release by the DA's office in March, John Westbrook — charged by the DA's office with aggravated kidnapping — kept Daphne after a visit in 2019.

"Daphne is being held against her will, unable to communicate with the outside world," the March release said. "Our investigation shows she is endangered both physically and mentally."

Late Friday, a spokesperson for the DA's office said of Daphne, who went missing as a minor but is now an adult, that "there is essentially nothing the law can do against her and she cannot be compelled to talk."

"The aggravated kidnapping charge against John Westbrook remains and our office will proceed accordingly," Communications Director Bruce Garner added.

The TBI was unable to provide any further information on the case.

Westbrook's mother, Rhona Curtsinger, said that she is "so relieved and so happy that she [Daphne] is alive" but that she had not yet seen her daughter or heard her voice.

She added that she was "so very thankful" to everyone who helped find Daphne.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at 423-757-6416 or at staylor@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

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