MONO COUNTY, Calif. (News 4 & Fox 11) -- Karlie Guse's photo is taped to dozens of windows and light posts in the small town of Bishop, California. Her missing person posters are a visual reminder of the desperate search for the 16-year-old who vanished in mid-October.
Nearly four months later, the lack of physical and digital clues in her disappearance is baffling the community and investigators as they search for answers.
"Because we have no direction to go in, we're going in every direction," said Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun.
Sheriff Braun said they don't know if she was kidnapped, ran away or is hiding somewhere.
Karlie's stepmother discovered the teen was missing from their Chalfant home at around 6:15 or 6:30 a.m. on October 13, according to Sheriff Braun. Chalfant is about 12 miles north of Bishop and home to less than 700 people.
Karlie left her home without any of her personal belongings, including her phone.
Three witnesses say they saw her walking near her home the morning she disappeared. The first witness saw her on Ponderosa. The second spotted her on White Mountain Estates, west of Ponderosa. The third sighting was near Highway 6 and White Mountain Estates.
"We're pretty confident that she walked away from the house that morning because people saw her," said Braun. "We have three people who saw her."
But what happened to Karlie after that remains a mystery.
Sheriff's officials say she was reported missing the morning she disappeared and an exhaustive, multi-day search followed. Helicopters, search dogs and off-road vehicles were called in.
Investigators combed through Karlie's social media accounts and electronic devices in search of clues.
"We have done search warrants. We have done data dumps of all electronic devices. We've interviewed everyone that's related to her," said Braun.
The Mono County Sheriff even called in the FBI to assist in the investigation.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, possible sightings were reported in California and Nevada. Sheriff Braun said they followed the leads, but they turned up nothing.
Sheriff's officials are also partnering with regional law enforcement agencies to follow up on tips that come in from the public.
Karlie's disappearance has garnered local and national attention. But public interest in the case is a doubled-edged sword.
The Mono County Sheriff said Karlie's family has been the victim of a so-called "trial by social media."
"There have been some very angry posts about members of the family accusing them of a crime," said Sheriff Braun. "At this point we don't have a crime, we have a missing person. And it had gotten really angry and really nasty towards the family and it wasn't fair to them."
The rumors and misinformation circulating on social media compelled Sheriff Braun to chime in on the conversation. In a Facebook post, she addressed what she calls "speculation" and "accusations."
"We are going to follow real clues. Not social theory. Not angry trolls throwing stuff out there. We are following the investigation."
DO YOU HAVE INFORMATION?
If you have information regarding Karlie’s whereabouts, you can call the Mono County Sheriff’s Office at 760-932-7549, option 7, or the National Center for Missing and Endangered Children at 800-843-5678 (800-THE-LOST).