BROOKSVILLE – Life hasn’t been normal for the Serafin family since April 9, when 16-year-old Breanna Serafin vanished.
Serafin, who had been staying with and caring for her bedridden grandmother, went to take out the trash. She didn’t have her cell phone or any identification with her, and she hasn’t been home since.
“Our biggest fear is that she ran off with one of these boys she met on the Internet. We have no idea who she could be with,” said Kim Gardner, Serafin’s stepmother who has been an active part of her life for the past 15 years.
Serafin, who previously attended Nature Coast Technical High School, was last seen in the area of Powell Road and California Street.
Gardner said Serafin has been going through a “rebellious” stage that has “kind of continued to snowball out of control for the past year.”
Facebook became an issue for the family, Gardner said, and Serafin’s parents were concerned she was communicating with men much older her. Serafin told them they were 17 or 18 years old.
Serafin moved in with her grandmother last fall, Gardner said, because she wanted more freedom and to prevent her grandmother from having to go into a nursing home.
“She said she promised to go to school ... as soon as she moved in she stopped going to school, doing her work,” Gardner said. “She tasted what it was like to be independent.”
Gardner said she thinks Serafin became overwhelmed taking care of her grandmother, but didn’t want to come back to her parents’ home and live by their rules.
“She took the trash out and was just gone,” Gardner said. “She left her cell phone behind, and that’s totally a red flag, because she brings it everywhere.”
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case as a missing juvenile, said Public Information Officer Denise Moloney. No further information was available because the case is active, but Moloney said Detective Dustin Adkins does not believe foul play is involved.
Gardner said it’s hard for her and her family to believe she left “completely willingly,” and that she hasn’t contacted any of her friends since.
Gardner said detectives believe Serafin might be in another county in the Tampa Bay area. More than 600 flyers have been circulated in Hernando County, and they haven’t received any calls of a sighting.
“We do not believe she’s in Hernando County,” Gardner said.
Gardner said detectives have advised the family it’s more or less a “waiting game” until Serafin resurfaces or makes contact.
“We’re not looking to get anyone in trouble,” Gardner said. “She doesn’t have to be scared to come home. We love and miss her and want her to get back safe.”