Kara Alongi, 16, generated big buzz on social media when she tweeted, "There is somone in my hour ecall 911" at 6:20 p.m. Sunday before she went missing. It is believed she meant "someone in my house, call 911."
The comment spawned a flurry of activity on the social networking site, with thousands using the hashtag, #helpfindkara. The girl's Twitter account had also netted nearly 100,000 followers by mid-Monday.
New Jersey State Police found Alongi walking along the New Jersey Turnpike near Exit 1 at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Alan Scherb, chief of the Clark, New Jersey, Police Department. No details were released about the circumstances of her disappearance, although detectives are investigating, he said.
"The investigation by the Clark Police Department remains active, and detectives will seek to determine the teen's whereabouts and methods of transportation over the last 48 hours," Scherb said. "Additional information will be released as it becomes available."
Alongi was taken to a South Jersey hospital for evaluation, where she was reunited with her family Tuesday evening, Scherb said.
"Kara was transferred to a North Jersey hospital overnight for additional evaluations and was released a short time later and returned home early this morning," he said Wednesday.
The teen's online post drew national attention, with several people posting her photo in hope of finding her, as well as broader speculation about what may have happened.
"A girl named kara got kidnapped tonight in my town. if you ALL could RT this, that'd be amazing," said Twitter user "Joshua," whose user name is @chommikk. "RT" means "retweet," or forward the message.
The series of posts also prompted indignation from social media users like Jill Brown, whose username is @YoungJillian_.
"I understand the whole #helpfindkara, but what about every other child that goes missing everyday?" she wrote. "What makes this different?"
Alongi, who was home alone, did not call police, authorities said. Her parents phoned authorities after they realized she had gone missing.
Adding to police suspicion, authorities say someone called a taxi company asking for a car at Alongi's address around the time her Twitter message was posted.
The driver later identified Alongi as the girl he picked up and said he drove her to Rahway Train Station, Scherb said.