Parma: Neighbors thankful that missing teen has been found safe

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PARMA, Ohio -- A missing Parma teenager is safe after being found by FBI agents more than 600 miles away.

After nearly a week of searching, on Friday, Katarina Bitterman, 17, was located by the FBI in Salem, Massachusetts. A 19-year-old man was arrested in connection to the investigation. Details on the man in police custody and why Bitterman left her Parma home remain unclear.

Parma Police say the teen was last seen walking away from her home on Augustine Drive. Police tell Fox 8 Bitterman left without her cell phone and did not pack additional clothing.

A joint police and FBI investigation revealed Bitterman was staying at the Salem residence where she was found. According to police the man arrested was also living in the home. He will be extradited to Ohio.

The news of Bitterman's safe return has the entire Parma community breathing a sigh of relief. Neighbors who tied ribbons of support for the missing teen in their yards say they never gave up hope.

"When something so close [as] this touches home you really see how the community pulled through," said Maureen Mastro. "I'm thankful she was alive and that she was found. I was surprised it was out of Ohio but happy she was found safe."

At last check, Parma Police say Bitterman remains in Salem but is expected to be reunited with family soon. According to officers, the Bitterman family thanks the public for their thoughts and support but is asking for privacy and does not want to be contacted.

More stories on Katarina Bitterman here

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