Overland Park police refused Thursday to answer questions about the discovery that a missing Johnson County College student was found safe and had not been abducted.
"The most important fact for us all to remember is that she is safe," Police Chief John Douglass said. "Everything else is now a personal family matter and we respect their privacy."
Douglass emphasized that no crime occurred because the family had believed Aisha Khan had been abducted after leaving upsetting voice mails on family members' cell phones.
Khan was not abducted and apparently left voluntarily last week. Overland Park police verified her whereabouts Wednesday, but would not say where she was or if she was with anyone else.
"I want to thank everyone who dedicated their time and efforts to this case," Douglass said. "In the end, one that was missing has now been found."
Khan's family was at a nearby hotel organizing searches for her and were overcome with joy Wednesday night. Tears flowed and hugs were exchanged.
A family spokesman, Aamer Trambu, said the family does not know where Khan is only that she is safe and was not kidnapped. Family members declined comment.
Khan will not face criminal charges. She had left messages on family members' cell phones about 11 a.m. Friday, saying she had been accosted by a drunk man on the University of Kansas' Edwards campus in Overland Park. She said the man tried to kiss her, so she slapped him. Family members and friends said they could hear fear in the normally soft-spoken woman's voice.
The voicemails sparked the frantic search.
"At this time, there have been no criminal acts. Consequently, the investigation of Ms. Khan as a missing person is complete, and no further action will be taken," Overland Park police said Wednesday night.
Trambu thanked the law enforcement officers and others who spent countless hours searching for Khan.
"We are very, very grateful to all involved," he said.
He declined to answer questions, including what prompted her to leave such upsetting voice mails and then disappear. Instead, he focused on the relief of a family who had put up a $10,000 reward in an effort to find Khan.
"Our family is very ecstatic about this," Trambu said. "Our prayers have been answered. We are glad she is safe and that she is well."
Khan is a newlywed. She was married about five months ago.
Douglass thanked the FBI, the Olathe Police Department and other law enforcement agencies for their assistance in the search for Khan.
On Thursday, more than 30,000 Facebook followers of the Find Aisha page showed mixed emotions hours after Khan's family received word she had been found unharmed.
Mostly, the Muslim community wrote religious praises.
Overland Park residents were divided on the issue.
Mike Harte suggested that Khan make a public apology and do community service with the law enforcement agencies who helped look for her.
"Officials have to take it seriously especially when all the circumstances point to it," he said.
But Matt Findlay said she did nothing wrong.
"She wants to disappear. That's her right. She's an adult. You can't pass a law against that," he said.
Jen Parker said Khan is obviously hurting and shouldn't face more public ridicule.
"She ran away for a reason. Why make her life any harder than it already is," Parker said.
The Edwards campus had drawn criticism for not having security cameras. The university is going to explore the issue in the coming weeks.
"The news that Aisha Khan was found safe is the best we could have received," campus officials said. "We'd like to thank the Overland Park and KU police as well as all other law enforcement agencies and volunteers who worked diligently to bring this case to a happy ending."
About100 volunteers on Wednesday had distributed fliers showing Khan wearing the black-and-white checkered coat she was seen wearing Friday just before she disappeared. Searchers had expanded the search area to include the Country Club Plaza and Lawrence.
"It's been very difficult to be around them. They just want their daughter home. It's heartbreaking to be around the family," Sara Jawhari, a friend of Khan's, said before police announced she had been found.
OPPD made the announcement at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Click here to see a Facebook page created by Khan's family.
In a statement on the page written just before midnight, the family wrote:
"On behalf of the Khan family, we are ecstatic to announce that Aisha has been found. She is safe and is unharmed. The family is truly grateful to each and every one of your support and encouragement during this difficult journey. Thank you for your prayers, locally, nationally and from across the world. Thank you to all local and national media outlets for keeping her story alive. And most of all, thank you to the Overland Park Police Department who have put in hundreds of hours into finding her safely and to the hundreds of volunteers who dedicated their time around the clock toward the search efforts. Our prayers have been answered. Thank you all."
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:29:04 GMT
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