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story.lead_photo.caption Zachary Johnson, 15, and Lilly Gore, both of Jefferson City, were reported missing Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. The news that the two youths had been found was announced early Sunday morning, Nov. 25, via a post on Facebook from Zachary's mother, Stephanie Johnson. Photo by Jefferson City Police Department

The pair of local teenagers who have been missing for nearly two weeks have been safety reunited with their families.

Zach Johnson, 15, and Lilly Gore, 17, disappeared Nov. 13. A photo of them posing in formal wear with the Missouri River in the background was widely circulated as Jefferson City police looked for them and as Zach's mother, Stephanie Johnson, made a public appeal for him to "please come home."

Johnson, who is the director of the Jefferson City Boys & Girls Club, broke the news of their return on Facebook at 3:33 a.m. Sunday.

"PRAISE BE TO GOD! Zach and Lilly are home safe!! Only through your prayers did God open their hearts to see that no obstacle is too big. With the support of family and God's grace and love, we can conquer any mountain!" she said in the post.

The post shows the flyers that had been posted in the missing children database with the faces of Zachary and Lilly. On each flyer were written the words "Home Safe."

She thanked her husband, Jake, for standing strong and her mother-in-law for caring for her and her husband. She also thanked the community for its care and compassion during the "darkest, most painful time of my life.

"Thank you and God Bless You for the prayers and love you bestowed upon us!" she wrote.

Jefferson City police confirmed on Sunday the two teens had been taken off missing lists. JCPD also reported Sunday this remained an open investigation.

Then today, police issued a news release confirming the two teens had arrived back to their families in Jefferson City around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. 

"When the teens returned to their home, it was discovered they went to various states while they were away, but came back on their own," police stated.

On Sunday, Johnson wasn't ready to speak to the media, but said she would do so today. Attempts to contact the Gore family Sunday were unsuccessful.

While the two were gone, friends and family held a Nov. 16 vigil at the Boys & Girls Club to pray for the teens' return.

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