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'We should be very vigilant' | Parent response after two Davidson County kidnapping victims returned home safe

Emotions ran high across the Triad following two very similar kidnapping cases out of Davidson County.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — Savannah Childress returned home over the weekend. On Monday, investigators found 15-year-old Kayla Carlson, after she disappeared from a Lexington group home. 

Both teens from Davidson County, both back home safe. 

Over social media, hundreds of parents shared their support, and feelings of relief: the joy of a safe return, mixed in with an uneasy warning. 

For many families, the story hits close to home. WFMY News 2 spoke with a Triad mom, who helped lead the charge online to find both girls, on her perspective - now that the searches are over. 

"These weren't just two families with children in Davidson County - these were Davidson County's children," said Jenny Ball. 

As a former educator and a parent herself, Ball understands technology and social media can be useful tools. 

She runs the "Concerned Citizens of Davidson County" Facebook group, which is more than 6,000 members strong. Through the local page, she helped share crucial information when two teenage girls vanished in two separate kidnapping cases, following online conversations on their school-issued devices. 

"Technology is a great thing - except when it's not," Ball said. 

A view shared by other parents, including Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons. 

"Inside the school, they have firewalls and stuff - outside the school they don't, and that's a big danger," he said a press conference on Monday, "The COVID virus is hurting in a lot of ways -  and this is a way - even separating our kids - they're easy to be groomed by these predators."

RELATED: Missing Davidson County teen found at motel, accused kidnapper arrested

"I don't know if there's an easy answer to fix this technology," Ball said. 

In her eyes, the blame doesn't fall in only one place. The pandemic brought challenges we've never seen, as everyone - parents, teachers, entire communities - tried to make the right choices for kids. 

"Unfortunately those who choose to do bad and devious things, they found this as an opportunity and they did find a really good opportunity," she said. 

These cases reminding us all how very near, and real, the dangers can be. 

"Our kids don't like us whenever we start enforcing rules but you know, it seems that we should be very vigilant," Ball said. 

At least one of the girls is a student at Davidson County Schools. The district told us it has safety protocols in place for student use of digital devices - and that they will review these protocols and investigate if additional measures for restricting certain uses should be taken.