Last November, Heaven Ray Cox sparked a nationwide search when she vanished from her Mauriceville, Texas, home.
The mystery surrounding her disappearance became clearer when her mother said she believed her 15-year-old daughter had a secret relationship with a much older man from California she met on Snapchat — and had apparently run off with him.
Five days later, Heaven was found safe in Louisiana and returned home.
Now, Heaven is dead, her mother announced on Facebook, though her family has not said how she died.
Here are five things to know about Heaven’s tragic story:
1. Heaven Went Missing From Her Texas Home in November
On Nov. 25, Heaven ran away from home, leaving a note on her bed telling her parents she was heading to California. She didn’t say why.
Her anguished mother, Tammy Day Cox, took to social media to say she believed that her daughter was in the company “of a man much older than her,” she wrote. Heaven’s friends had told her about their secret alleged relationship, she said.
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“The man she has been talking to is a predator, who has apparently been manipulating her for some time,” she alleged of the still-unidentified man. “We need to bring her home, as we believe she is in grave danger.”
2. Heaven Wanted to Be Marine Biologist, and Suffered from Bipolar Disorder
Heaven was a student at Little Cypress-Mauriceville who enjoyed spending time with her family and at the beach.
Describing her daughter as beautiful, smart, loving and compassionate, Cox wrote on Facebook that Heaven loved her dogs and riding her horse, and that she wanted to be a marine biologist.
But life wasn’t easy for her, as she battled bipolar disorder, her mother says. “She once told me, that though she was smiling on the outside, she wasn’t smiling on the inside. She was struggling. She was trying to overcome things that most people couldn’t fathom.”
When she ran away, she left behind the medication she needed to treat her illness, her distraught mother wrote on Facebook during her daughter’s disappearance.
“She suffers from mental illness and is currently in a manic phase due to being off of her medication,” Cox wrote.
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Her mother also said she believed that her daughter’s mental illness allegedly led her to run away with the older man. “In her current state of mind, she believes that he is her friend,” Cox wrote on Facebook.
3. Heaven Was Found in Louisiana
On Dec. 1, five days after Heaven went missing, the Orange County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office reported that police had found the runaway teen in a home in Louisiana owned by the relative of someone she knew.
“After following several leads and speaking with numerous individuals, Orange County Investigators located Heaven Cox at a residence in Louisiana,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement at the time. “Heaven was unharmed and has been reunited with her family this evening.
“Preliminary reports are that Heaven left her residence last Saturday on her own accord, but we will continue to speak to all persons involved. We have not ruled out pending criminal charges.”
No one has been charged in her disappearance.
4. Heaven’s Mother Posted on Facebook About ‘Emergency’ This Past Weekend
On Saturday, the day Heaven died, her mother posted an alarming message at 4:27 p.m. saying, “I NEED EVERYONE TO STOP AND PRAY RIGHT NOW FOR HEAVEN!! IT’S AN EMERGENCY!!”
Cox did not give any more details about what may have been happening with her daughter at that moment. Friends weighed in, sending prayers and well wishes, saying they hoped everything was OK.
5. After Her Death, Her Mother Wrote, ‘Some Bright Lights Are Not Meant For This Dark and Cruel World’
About three hours after Cox’s unsettling post, she let the world know her daughter had died.
“Our sweet Heaven left us to be with Jesus this afternoon around 4:00,” Cox wrote on Facebook Saturday at 7:18 p.m.
“Some bright lights are not meant for this dark and cruel world…. Sing with the angels sweet girl. I love you.”
On Tuesday, Cox announced that private services for Heaven will be held Friday at a local church.
Authorities have not yet commented on the incident or cause of death.