Since Peconic teen Ashley Murray, 16, went missing ten days ago, the community has come together in an outpouring of love and support, creating Facebook pages, distributing flyers in an effort to bring her home safely.
But, as days pass with no word on Ashley, some have posted negative comments in public forums, speculating on the teen's home life, and why she left. One commenter said her family had already cleaned out Ashley's room.
On Thursday, Ashley's brother, Jaime Cradehl, sought to dispel the ugly rumors.
"I have read some of the things people have been saying. In a situation like this there will always be speculators and rumors. Unfortunately, I also know that I cannot stop them. It is too bad, though, because at a time like this, they do nothing but hurt, and cause drama where there is already more than necessary. If it puts them at ease, fine. But it's useless and only damaging."
Cradehl added: "Ashley and I were raised by the same mother, and I turned out just fine. Our mom has worked superhumanly hard to give us as much as she always could. And to be honest, we've never gone without. But, try conveying to an angry teenager that life could be worse. We'd have an easier time putting a stop to these less-than-friendly speculators."
Since she went missing, leaving behind Ashley's brother has said they believe she might have run away with someone's help. On Saturday, the family issued a statement and asked for privacy.
Her anguished mother has worried that her daughter left home without medication she needed for anemia.
Meanwhile, Southold police continue an extensive search for Ashley, although there are no leads. Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said Thursday morning that there is "nothing to report" as of yet.