The day started like any other.
Long Beach teen Brandy Moore was picked up by a teacher from Millikan High the morning of Monday, November 16, as part of their carpool routine.
But when her mother went to pick her up after school, Brandy was not there.
That afternoon the Moore family started making calls, to the police, to friends, to anyone who might have had information on the whereabouts of the 17-year-old.
“At first we thought maybe this is going to be something that will blow over in a couple of days,” said Brandy’s father Johnston Moore. “Then, when we got the detective assigned and then they put the missing poster out, I was like ‘Ok this has gone on long enough.’”
Johnston said since her disappearance just over a month ago, the family has posted fliers in areas where they believe she may be, and shared information on social media.
Though this is not her first time running away, this is the longest she's been gone since moving in with the Moore family.
Brandy first left their home in March of 2013, when she stayed at a friend’s house for a few days. By then she had been living with the Moores since December 2011, when they began fostering her.
After a conversation with social workers, therapists and the family, everyone agreed the family wanted to take her back home, Johnston said.
“I think in her mind she needed to hear that,” he said.
After the incident, Brandy went back home, did well in school and expressed interest in getting adopted, which officially happened in October 2013.
Prior to living with the Moore family, Brandy had been in two other known foster homes, Johnston said, and had run away from one of those homes as well.
“She’s not a typical 17-year-old,” Johnston said. “She’s had a lot of trauma in her life.”
Brandy has received help to deal with with anxiety, depression and childhood neglect.
While Brandy can get animated about certain subjects, Johnston said Brandy rarely opens about her feelings and her past.
Brandy is one of seven children adopted through foster care by Johnston and his wife Terry, who can have biological children but chose the alternative because of the huge need, he said.
The family is also currently fostering a baby boy, whom Johnston said Brandy adores.
“We could see her being a pediatric nurse, or something like that, because she just absolutely loves babies... really good with them,” Johnston said.
Beside her adoptive family, Brandy has about nine biological siblings, with at least two or three of whom she keeps in contact.
Johnston said Brandy is a lover of fashion and food, and he could see her excel in either industry as either a designer or a chef.
“She enjoys food, she loves cooking,” Johnston said. “She loves going out to eat. I think food is one of the things that animates her the most.”
Though uncertain of where she might be, Johnston hopes that if her friends know where she is, that they notify the family or the authorities.
“I know that teenagers stick together and they, in their view, can be protecting her, but there’s nothing to protect her from,” Johnston said. “She was surrounded by love, our extended family, our church, everybody, embraced her and loved her.”
Johnston said he just hopes for her return home, where she can receive the help she needs.
“We want to tell her [...] to come back,” Johnston said. “I would tell her that we love her, that nothing she’s done or can do can change that and that we want her to come home. We want to get her the help she needs. We miss her.”
Moore is described as Cambodian, five feet tall, 105 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, white polo, and blue pants.
Authorities said she does not have any identifying scars, marks or tattoos, no medical alerts and no visible dental work. It is unknown if she was wearing jewelry.
Anyone with information regarding this missing person is urged to call the LBPD Missing Persons Detail at 562.570.7246 or Police Dispatch at 562.435.6711. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call 800.222.TIPS (8477), or text TIPLA plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.
Photos courtesy of the Moore family.
This story was updated on 12/19/15. A previous version incorrectly stated Brandy had been arrested.