'I've been smiling,' missing Georgia teen Aubrey Carroll says
For nearly two years, a Middle Georgia family has agonized over the disappearance of Aubrey Jayce Carroll.
On May 24, 2016, the 15-year-old left home in Griffin and later was reported missing to the Spalding County Sheriff's Office.
On Tuesday, Spalding Sheriff Darrell Dix posted a Facebook video with young man who turned 17 in January.
Carroll's short hair and scant goatee, pictured in a photo his family circulated after he disappearance, has grown into locks past his shoulders and a full, but short beard.
"I have somebody I want to introduce you to," Dix said in the video. "Would you tell everybody who you are?"
"Hey, I'm Aubrey Carroll," the teen said with a wave. "It's nice to see you all."
The sheriff asked if there was anything he wanted to say to the people who have been "praying for you and looking for you."
Carroll looked into the camera and said: "Nice to see y'all. I'd like to tell you thank you all so much for all your prayers and looking out for my mama. I appreciate y'all so much. I'm all right. I've been smiling and y'all should do the same."
There was no mention about where Carroll has been or exactly when he returned.
He was wearing a "Sublime, Long Beach, CA, 40 ounces to Freedom" T-shirt, but that might not be a clue since the shirt is sold on walmart.com.
The Carroll's family held a vigil about 11 months ago in Gray.
Last year, his aunt, Haley Hartley of Milledgeville, said they wanted to “spread the word about his disappearance and by some miracle he’ll hear about it and see the outpouring of love.”
At the time, Dix said Carroll had made comments in the days before he disappeared that he was going to run away. The sheriff said the teen had ties to Jones and Wilkinson counties.
Family members were worried sick after learning he never made it to Jones County where he had planned to visit friends.
After Dix reopened the cold case when he took office in January of 2017, a man came forward and said he picked up Carroll on the road and dropped him at the Flying J truck stop at Interstate 75 and Ga. 36 near Jackson.
The trail went cold.
“His family is being tortured by the lack of information,” Dix said last year.
Dix wanted Carroll to know that “whatever he felt was a problem, there’s nothing that can’t be taken care of, or forgiven.”
Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report.