The longtime Camden Children’s Garden worker was reportedly seen Tuesday morning by a former coworker, and was reunited with her family later in the day.
By Matt Skoufalos
UPDATE: Valerie Frick returned home “safe and unharmed” Tuesday evening according to Camden County Police spokesman Michael Daniels.
Daniels declined to elaborate on the circumstances of Frick’s return, saying only that “it’s a family matter, not a crime.”
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Camden Children’s Garden Director Valerie Frick, reported missing Sunday night, was allegedly sighted at Cooper River Park around 9:30 Tuesday morning, according to Camden County Police.
A jogger who worked with Frick at the Children’s Garden apparently spotted her while she was driving by the river, and made eye contact with her, said Sgt. Janell Simpson.
The jogger was unable to catch up to the vehicle to communicate with its driver directly, Simpson said, but police believe the account to be credible.
“At this point we believe that she is alive, but we are concerned for her well-being,” she said.
Frick, who was the Director of Education for the Children’s Garden, does not have a history of mental illness or substance abuse, and has never been reported missing before, Simpson said.
“[Frick] has a long history with the community, she has done a lot with the community, and she is a very important person to this community,” Simpson said.
“She has family that loves her, and whatever made her leave, we’re here to help her if she’s having any issue.”
Frick’s husband, Michael Devlin, who is the executive director for the children’s garden, was not present at a press conference Tuesday evening in Camden City, but has cooperated fully with the investigation, Simpson said.
Andrew Adams, public relations coordinator for the Children’s Garden said that Frick, a Fairview resident, “has a large footprint in the city,” and is “known almost in every neighborhood.
“She loved Camden; she loved working with kids,” Adams said.” This isn’t her. It’s totally out of character.”
Frick’s nieces, Raechel and Tiffany, were distributing flyers with their aunt’s photograph at the media conference.
Raechel Frick, who said she really only sees her aunt on holidays, was unaware of whether Valerie Frick had been under any sort of atypical strain before her disappearance.
“I know she had an argument with her mother,” Raechel Frick said. “We’re all really hoping she comes home or contacts us. She’s just a great person.”
Frick was last seen driving a brown 2009 Toyota RAV 4 with blue New Jersey tags BEZ 42J. Police are asking for anyone who sees her to call 856-757-7042.