Toyota Matrix

Bruce William Lynch Jr. is believed to be driving a silver-blue 2003 Toyota Matrix, similar to the one pictured here.

Investigators searching for an abducted Louisa County girl say they are checking out dozens of tips from Virginia and surrounding states since announcing the teen’s disappearance and are asking the public to continue to help.

The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office last week issued an arrest warrant for Bruce William Lynch Jr., 34, of Bumpass, on felony abduction charges in the disappearance of Isabel Shae Hicks, 14, also of Bumpass.

They also issued an Amber Alert via the Virginia State Police seeking help in their search from other law enforcement agencies and citizens.

Hicks, law enforcement officials believe, was taken from her home early in the morning of Oct. 21. FBI agents joined Louisa and Hanover County sheriff’s officials and state police last week in looking for Hicks.

“Bruce Lynch was known to Isabel,” Louisa sheriff’s Major Donald Lowe said at a Monday press conference. “There is nothing that causes us to believe that Isabel was taken forcefully but she is a 14-year-old girl and she is in the company of an individual that has been reported by his family to have suicidal ideations and he is in possession of a 9mm handgun. We want to reunite her safely with her family.”

FBI Special Agent David Archey, of the Richmond field office, said the bureau is joining state police and sheriff’s deputies in running down any leads that come in.

“We take them all seriously. We appreciate all of the help and we ask everyone to continue to be our additional eyes. No piece of information is insignificant. Please do not hesitate and do not wait to call if you see something. Time is of the essence,” Archey said. “The FBI is involved and we’re not going away.”

Archey also appealed to Lynch to bring Hicks back.

“Bruce, as parents, let us appeal to you. You know Isabel should be home safe with her family — warm, rested, protected,” Archey said. “I’m sure you want what’s best for her. Please return Isabel to a safe location or contact us and let us know how we can help you reunite her with her family.”

Hicks is described as a white girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She is about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. Lynch is described by police as a white man with brown hair and brown eyes, a beard, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds.

Lynch should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

The pair is believed to be traveling in a silver-blue 2003 Toyota Matrix with Virginia license plate VEM-9071. But police believe the plate may have been changed to either UXW-3614 or 249-9UT.

Investigators said the right rear door handle of the Toyota is busted, which could be a tipoff that the car is Lynch’s.

“You can change tags and you can change the color of the vehicle, so focus on the type of vehicle that it is,” said Louisa sheriff’s Detective Chuck Love.

Amber Alerts are broadcast across the region and the country in hopes that citizens, as well as police, may be able to locate missing children. To issue an alert, a law enforcement agency must believe the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death and has investigated enough to eliminate alternative reasons the child may be missing.

When the alert was issued, tips began to come into the investigators from across the state and neighboring states, including West Virginia.

“We’ve had a lot of tips coming in from the state and surrounding states. After the Amber Alert was issued, we had dozens of tips coming in and we’re trying to check them all out. We take this very seriously,” Love said.

Archey said tips have led agents and investigators to several locations where the two may be and that each is being looked at but that police do not yet know where Hicks is.

Anyone who sees the vehicle, Lynch or Hicks is urged to all (804) 261-1044.

“It’s a lot like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” Love said, “but we have a lot of people looking for those needles.”

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