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Photos: Avery Workman found safe -- but was she a runaway or drugging victim?

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Update: Yesterday, Avery Workman, a sixteen-year-old youth circus performer from Elbert County who vanished off the 16th Street Mall, was found safe.

But while media reports like this one suggest she ran away, the folks behind the Facebook page that coordinated the search for her insist she was drugged.

Denver Police spokesman Detective John White told reporters that Workman was located in Boulder yesterday -- and described the scenario as "more of a runaway situation as opposed to a missing persons case." In contrast, the "Missing Elbert County Girl: Avery Workman" Facebook page argues otherwise.

Following an expression of delight ("Avery has been found! She is in Boulder and alive!!! Please spread the word, thank you all of you! Thank God she is alive!"), a message disputes White's characterization. It reads:

I just found out that who told the Denver Post the far from the truth information provided in their article was provided by a PIO at the station. I will be calling him, the chief he answers to and the paper for a correction. Let me say this one last time. Our most important task was getting our Avery back alive and we did! But she was not a runaway. She was drugged and abducted and she is far from okay. It will take a long time and you will never know all the details, but I am telling you as a mom, I will take on the paper tomorrow for Jenny just as if I were Avery's mom first thing in the morning. That article was released before the parents even knew what was going on, saying the parents were reunited with her. They were nowhere near there or even knew anything. How can some reporter or PIO decide if Avery is okay and lied and it was just a runaway situation -- she was drugged for 4 straight days to control her to stay.

Our Avery did not run away, did not go with these people willingly but drugged, big difference! And she will be okay, but it is going to take a lot of time, physically and mentally. So please, if you are spreading the Denver Post lies, please set them straight. This young lady has to go back to school and rebuild her life and she doesn't need to do so defending herself because some newspaper said so! Denver Post, you should have made sure the parents were notified first and the arrest of the men and getting our Avery back was done in Boulder, NOT in Denver. So this article is an opinion, not informational.

A followup item shared after midnight concentrates on thanking all of those who helped insure that Workman was tracked down, as well as updating loved ones on her condition. The message notes that "she is safe. Her health will be better and she will recover. Please pray now for her recovery, physically and mentally."

But the piece adds this: "Thank you all for not falling for that crap about her. She was NOT a runaway and the full story will be out as soon as it's cleared to do so. Just ignore the papers and wait for the truth when it's all said and done. I can't wait for a lot of people to eat their words and feel like an ass!!"

Continue to read our earlier coverage, as well as to see photos of Workman. Original post, 6:48 a.m. September 19: Avery Workman's Facebook tags identify her as "Avery Dawn EarthChild," and judging by the way her smile lights up photos below that show her performing as part of Circus-Your-Way!, a local troupe of which she's a member, the name definitely fits. Now, however, she's missing, having vanished this weekend while performing on the 16th Street Mall -- and two different Facebook pages are providing search updates.

Here's the first post about the sixteen-year-old Elbert County girl on the Circus-Your-Way! Facebook page, shared Monday:

MISSING: Any information would be greatly appreciated. Avery Dawn Workman is 16 years old and a junior at Elbert School, in Elbert, CO. She is 5' 4" 120lbs, Red/Brown hair, Blue eyes, and a mole under her left eye. Avery was wearing a white mini skirt carrying a hula-hoop on the 16th Street Mall -- the last time anyone heard from her was at 2:45 pm on Sept. 16th 2012 and last person to have a reported sighting was around 5 p.m. near Civic Center Park. If you have any information please contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or Denver Police District 6 720-913-2000. The Unit in charge is Missing and Exploited Children Det. Robert Salazar.

A subsequent post features a tip suggesting that Workman may have been taken to Boulder:

Avery was hula hooping on the 16th street mall and was supposed to meet her sister at 8 p.m. We had a sighting of her at Civic Center Park around 5 and rumors of some guy taking her to Boulder. We do NOT believe Avery would go with him willing unless he had drugged her or something. The man she is supposed to be with, med build, white, with blonde/brown dreadlocks. Tattoo on his wrist of Chemical Molecule. He is wearing Overalls and hat both covered in patches. He is homeless we are told. Crime Stoppers 720-913-7867 or Denver Police District 6/720-913-2000.

Also released have been a series of fliers seeking information about Avery. Here's an example:

In the meantime, a new Facebook page has been created under the name "Missing Elbert County Girl: Avery Workman." Among the posts there is this one, about outreach efforts on the 16th Street Mall by people who know what it's like to be on your own.

A special thank you to those who are suffering themselves. The homeless of Denver near the 16th street mall are passing out fliers and asking for help in finding Avery. You may never see this post but your kind and loving action is greatly appreciated!

The latest post is from just two hours ago. It reads in part:

We just got home. We didn't find her yet. It felt like a wild goose chase. So much information was coming in from varying sources -- mostly street sighting sources. This really is a nightmare! For all the information that had us running around the most important thing for everyone to do now is memorize Avery's face, keep an eye out, and pass her picture and information along. Boulder and Denver both and beyond. We were up in Boulder all morning and afternoon. Passing out fliers, walking through the creek beds. Then, when word came that she was seen in Denver again, we split and searched both places.

Look below to see photos of Avery, many of them with Circus-Your-Way members. As noted above, phone Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or Detective Robert Salazar at 720-913-2000 if you know anything about Workman's whereabouts.

Continue to see more photos of missing Elbert County youth circus performer Avery Workman. Continue to see more photos of missing Elbert County youth circus performer Avery Workman. Continue to see more photos of missing Elbert County youth circus performer Avery Workman.

More from our News archive: "Brooke Brunsvold: No charges in accident that killed her, Facebook group mourns."

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