A girl who was pictured naked surrounded by a group of men during spring break has been identified as a 17-year-old.
The image which surfaced online on March 11 caused concern among law enforcement who feared she could be danger.
But when the girl, who has not been identified, returned home from Panama Beach and saw the snap online, she came forward to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and insisted she was safe.
According to officers she told them the interaction between the crowd was consensual and and she didn’t realize her picture was being taken.
It has also been revealed she wasn’t enrolled in a college.
Sheriff Frank McKeithen releases a statement on the department’s website on Friday evening saying: ‘The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has identified the female in a photo the agency released on March 17, 2015.
‘The photo was posted on Twitter on March 11, 2015, when it came to the attention of law enforcement who became concerned for her safety. The female was on the sand on what was believed to be Panama City Beach.
‘She was surrounded by a crowd of men in bathing suits. She was wearing no clothing and appeared to be underage.
‘The female in the photo became aware through the media that her identity was sought, and contacted the BCSO today and spoke with investigators.
‘The BCSO requested law enforcement in the same city the girl lives in to make contact with her.
‘They verified her claim to be the girl in the photo. She lives in the southern part of the United States and told investigators she visited Panama City Beach for spring break, although she does not attend college.
‘She is seventeen years of age and although she stated her behavior and interaction with the crowd was consensual and she is safe, she did not realize that someone was taking her picture.
Sheriff McKethithen told the Daily Mail Online earlier on Friday that the photos had been deeply concerning to law enforcement because of how young the girl looked, and their main priority was to find out if she was safe.
‘She isn’t in trouble,’ Sheriff McKeithen said. ‘We want to be proactive about her safety.’
Read more: dailymail.co.uk