WATERVILLE — While police searched Tuesday for a 16-year-old girl who ran away from a Colby College running camp, the teen hitchhiked more than 200 miles to her home in Worcester, Mass.

Waterville Police Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said the girl, who left the 28th annual Colby College cross country camp wearing a T-shirt and running shorts and not carrying a cell phone or any money, was extremely lucky.

“She was playing Russian roulette,” Rumsey said. “It was incredibly dangerous.”

On the third day of the five-day camp, Rumsey said the teen reportedly told fellow campers that she was going to hitchhike home and, at some point Tuesday morning, left the Mayflower Hill campus.

Pete S. Chenevert, Colby director of security, said the girl was last seen on campus around 9:30 a.m.

Chenevert said camp staff called the girl’s parents, who were on Islesboro, an island off the coast of Lincolnville, to notify them that their daughter was missing.

Police did not release the name of the girl because of her age.

Chenevert said the teen had previously told her parents that she wanted to leave running camp and return home before joining them on Islesboro.

At 4:16 p.m. Tuesday, Waterville police Detective Alan Perkins and patrol Sgt. William Bonney met with Colby College campus security personnel and Debbie Aitken, camp director.

Rumsey said local police alerted other law enforcement departments of the teen’s description and intended destination and that police also searched for the girl around Waterville.

Maine State Police, Rumsey said, reported that a female matching the girl’s description had been spotted at the Kennebunk travel plaza on Interstate 95, approximately 100 miles south of Colby.

Chenevert said that Tuesday night the girl called her parents, who were en route from Islesboro to Waterville, and told them that she was in Worcester.

Rumsey and Chenevert agreed the teen was extraordinarily fortunate.

“She had no resources and was relying on the goodwill of strangers,” said Rumsey, adding the story could have had a very different, tragic ending.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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