We have just been told 18-year-old Ashley Nicole Hanson is in the custody of California authorities. She was able to call 911 and her mother after running from the hotel she was being held at.
Ashley left Bay County nearly six weeks ago to embark on a journey claiming to make her money and show her the world.
"They spoke of $200 to $500 a day. Bonuses, football games, Las Vegas where their next stop was supposed to have been."
An ad ran in our local newspaper in early November, seeking teens and young adults eager to travel the country, making large profits, and selling popular magazines door-to-door.
Ashley Nicole Hanson, an 18-year-old Mosley High School graduate, joined the traveling team against her parents’ best advice.
"The very next morning the lady called and told Ashley she was leaving then this was her chance to go. She didn't give Ashley any time to pack or prepare to travel."
Tuesday, six weeks into the journey, Ashley didn't return after a day of door-to-door sales in southern California.
"The night she came up missing, she called and said she felt like she was going to be fired the night before, that her supervisor told her she had to pick up her sales or make other arrangements."
Ashley mother encouraged her to come home.
"That’s okay baby. You can come home. She said ok momma; that the last time I hear from her; she said I’ll call you as soon as I get back to the hotel."
When she didn't return the company called her parents to see if they heard from her. At that point Ashley’s mother filed a missing persons report.
Authorities feared the worst. Late Wednesday Ashley contacted her mother.
"She was able to talk very briefly; she was scared and upset; she had blurted out few things that really alarmed us."
One of those words was prostitution. Ashley's mom says although frantic, Ashley seemed unharmed. She did tell her mother she had witnessed other group member being beat and abused.
There is no word on whether there were actually plans to move Ashley across the border, but thankfully now that's not an option as she is safe with authorities.
The magazine sales group is called Ultimate Power Sales Incorporated. They are believed to be based out of Georgia.