The drama began when the girl called a friend to tell her she was being followed while walking to school; when she didn't turn up for class, the alarm was raised.
The frantic friend called 911 to report what she had been told, and provided her last known location, just one block away from Treasure Coast High School.
When police arrived, they found her backpack and cellphone abandoned on the sidewalk — but no Saige.
Fearing the worst, Port St. Lucie PD immediately issued an alert:
Saige Stiles, 15 y/o, was last seen walking to school this morning in the area of SW Darwin Blvd/SW Belmont Cir. Did not arrive to school and is considered to be missing/endangered at this time. 5’5, 120lbs, brown hair, jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Call 911 w/ any information. pic.twitter.com/giipWbXRKH
"Saige Stiles, 15 y/o, was last seen walking to school this morning in the area of SW Darwin Blvd/SW Belmont Cir," it read.
"Did not arrive to school and is considered to be missing/endangered at this time. 5’5, 120lbs, brown hair, jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Call 911 w/ any information."
Officers began a wide-scale search, scrambling helicopters and K-9 units, as they interviewed possible witnesses in the area.
Then, a break in the case: a motorist's dashcam had spotted the teen, walking along SW Hawthorne Cir and SW Paar Dr at 11:51 AM:
Update as of 4:15pm - Saige was observed on video walking in the area of SW Hawthorne Cir and SW Paar Dr at 11:51am. She does not appear to be in any immediate danger or distress at that time. We ask the community that if you observe Saige, please immediately call 911. https://t.co/eLyuuaVDTXpic.twitter.com/iUfnNNobVD
"During follow up interviews, detectives learned Saige had a plan to skip school yesterday and at this time there is no evidence to support that she was being followed by someone," they said in a statement. "There is no threat to the community."
The hero who found her was Michael Lincoln-McCreight (pictured, inset) with the Treasure Coast chapter of the Guardian Angels, who told WPBF that the girl was nervous when he approached, and told him she was missing.
"At the end of the day, it's not about if she was a runaway," he insisted. "It doesn't matter if she is in danger, the only thing that matters is that she is home safe with her family."
Speaking to WESH, PSLPD Public Information Officer John Dellacroce defended the massive use of resources, when compared to a runaway case.
"This had mitigating circumstances with the possibility she was being followed, so that changes the way things are approached," he said.
He added that police are currently not considering any criminal charges but are continuing to conduct interviews, adding that these kinds of reports are always taken seriously.
"Big thanks to Michael for finding Saige and our media partners/community for sharing this event all day," PSLPD tweeted.
Saige was safely found in 100-BLK SW Paar Dr by Michael, member of the Florida's Treasure Coast Guardian Angels Chapter. Saige is in good health and with PSLPD Detectives. Big thanks to Michael for finding Saige and our media partners/community for sharing this event all day. https://t.co/Dwgq2ITtI5pic.twitter.com/jg6mDSlrO7