Have you seen this girl on Facebook?

“Missing” girl was reunited with her family after photos of her circulated on Facebook.

by Jenna Wilcox

After days of her picture circulating Facebook, Maple Grove native Justine Baumgartner âÄî who many believed was missing âÄî was reunited with her mother and sister last week.

The 22-year-old disappeared in late October without a word to family or friends.

Last week her mother posted her picture on Facebook and word began to spread. Since Justine Baumgartner had attended Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., many University of Minnesota students started sharing her photo, including Joey Lusvardi, a longtime friend.

âÄúShe just stopped showing up for work, stopped coming home and stopped contacting her parents,âÄù Lusvardi said. âÄúMy first thought was, âÄòOh my god, did she get sold into sex trade or was she murdered?âÄô It was a terror.âÄù

But Justine Baumgartner said she had been in a mentally and emotionally destructive relationship and decided to leave.

âÄúI was in such a weird state of mind that I didnâÄôt realize what would happen [if I left],âÄù she said.

After awhile, friends started to realize that she was gone and called the family with concerns.

Her mother, Mary, discovered a charge on JustineâÄôs credit card from New Mexico. She went to the Hennepin County Government Center plaza, where Justine had frequently participated in the Occupy Minnesota movement, to ask if anyone knew where she could be.

An acquaintance there said Justine Baumgartner was on her way to California. But she was not returning any phone calls and her family had no way of reaching her.

Eventually, the family was able to file a missing person report. But because Justine Baumgartner is an adult, she didnâÄôt have to tell anyone where she was.

Her sister, Jordan Baumgartner, contacted friends in California including a high school classmate that now lives in Los Angeles.

Jordan Baumgartner said her friend distributed fliers in an effort to get more information and eventually learned Justine Baumgartner was staying at 15 Rose, a hostel near Venice Beach, and sometimes sleeping in her car.

But Justine Baumgartner didnâÄôt seem to have an interest in calling her family.

âÄúI was weirded out that people IâÄôve never even met were saying to call my mom,âÄù Justine Baumgartner said.

But to the relief of her family, she eventually did call home Dec. 6.

âÄúShe was kind of in shock that that many people cared about her,âÄù Jordan Baumgartner said. âÄúShe was just out getting away and having fun.âÄù

The day after the phone call, Jordan and Mary Baumgartner flew to California to see Justine. The two walked up and down the Venice Beach boardwalk before finding her with a group of people smoking and playing guitar.

âÄúI just walked up to her, hugged her and told her I missed her,âÄù Jordan Baumgartner said.

 âÄúShe came here escaping some sort of problem and just avoiding everyone,âÄù she said. âÄúI was scared because kids [in Venice Beach] can get into trouble.âÄù

The family spent a few days in California together before Jordan and Mary Baumgartner flew back to Minnesota on Sunday.

But Justine Baumgartner wonâÄôt be returning home until Dec. 19 for the Christmas holiday. She said there are many people in Venice Beach who have lost hope and have no one in their lives. She said she tells them that they are loved, to smile and to be happy they are alive.

âÄúI know the situation is kind of backwards,âÄù she said. âÄúWhen I left I was really messed up, but I realized I was meant to come here.âÄù