TAYLOR, Mich. (FOX 2) - On November 1, Gloria Alvarado's screen was cut, her phone was left behind, and that was the last time anyone had seen the Taylor teenager. But then an out-of-state private investigator was able to put it all together.
Gloria, now 16, had been missing for 75 days until she was found alive and unharmed this week. Her mother, Tina, told FOX 2 that the past 2 1/2 months have been hard but the reunion was emotional.
"It was just overwhelming - that's the best way to put it. Just overwhelming, tears of joy," said Tina. "I had it set in my head that no matter what, no matter how long it took, I was going to find her, I was going to find my baby."
Flyers had been hung and vigils were held to hold out hope in the search for Gloria. All that was left behind were the cut window screen and a grainy video that eventually led a private investigator to the teenager.
Tina frequently spoke to the media about Gloria's disappearance and private investigator James Terry said that helped.
"She did see your news coverage so she was able to follow this as it was happening and she is now back home with her family, thanks to the detectives who took it the rest of the way," Terry said.
Terry, the out of state private investigator, never even came to Michigan once but was able to use his phone to put the pieces together to find Gloria in the Metro Detroit area. He said he's happy to find her but was unsure if charges would be filed as that's not really his job.
"No charges have been filed and she's back with the family, that's not what I do. I'm a recovery guy, I'm like a repo guy. I have a pro football background, my background has nothing to do with law enforcement so I don't know the laws and the rules," he said.
Tina said she hasn't felt comfortable asking her daughter about what happened.
"I don't know the details to where she was or anything, all I know is she's back," said Tina. "Right now she's in a fragile state and we can only take it one day at a time. She will be getting the help that she needs. She is being taken care of."
Tina said she hopes her story will help others realize how serious it is when a child is missing.
"Just because I have her back, I don't want to back down. These kids need to be found. So many kids are missing every single day. They need to be found," she said.