Missing Teen Reunited With Parents at Burning Man

15-Year old Nikki Peress reunited with parents 24 hours after being reported missing.

Black Rock City, Nev. — Burning Man organizers, in conjunction with local law enforcement, successfully located Nicole “Nikki” Peress, a 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing at the event Thursday afternoon. Following an investigation by the Pershing County Sheriff’s Department, Peress’s disappearance was classified as a runaway child.

When Peress was reported missing, Burning Man initiated its missing child protocol, including an Amber Alert and citywide shutdown operations, whereby all outbound traffic and airport departures are halted. Burning Man’s Black Rock Rangers posted flyers throughout Black Rock City and distributed public service announcements via Burning Man Information Radio.

“The system worked,” said Marian Goodell, Director of Communications for Burning Man. “We have a system set up to reunite minors who have become involuntarily separated from their parents, and it’s also effective for voluntarily-separated ones. This is a very tight-knit community, and it’s gratifying that our participants really step up to help in situations like this. We’re very happy that Nikki has been returned to her parents.”

Peress was found Friday afternoon when a participant recognized her, and brought her to a Burning Man medical station, whereupon she was reconnected with her parents.

About Burning Man:
For 22 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, the event now attracts more than 60,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For media inquiries, please call 415-906-2441.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He was Burning Man's Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, and the Operations Manager and member of the Art Council for the ARTery (Burning Man's art department headquarters in Black Rock City) from 2003-2008. In 2009, he transitioned into the Communications Department, where his responsibilities include global communication strategy, authoring the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter, content management for the Burning Man website, coordination of Burning Man's social networking efforts, and acting as editor for the Burning Blog. Tales of his sordid adventures can be found on his website.

59 thoughts on “Missing Teen Reunited With Parents at Burning Man

  • The comments here are awesome. You be the people running BRC and find out there is a 15 year old girl on the rampage. You bet your sweet bippy you’d issue the yellow alert or the red one or whatever one you could issue. Because the headline:” 15 year old girl gang raped at Burning Man” is the end of the paycheck. Period.

    Like every other decision at BM, the LLC has their own interests in mind. They could care less if you are inconvenienced.

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  • I would like to comment on the comments of others in this anonymous internets about the behaviors of strangers in a temporary city populated by persons who use aliases. I comment because I am important.

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  • Looks to me some people here have taken back to the default world with gusto. Try to keep the playa at heart, is all I can say.

    I am happy she was found. The circumstances really don’t matter. All that matters is that a minor went missing, and was subsequently found, which IMO is pretty amazing, and a testament to BMORG policies.

    Love & Peace

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  • I say….
    Let professionals do what they are supposed to do. In this case, the protection of a young girl was of essence. The fact that she could have been drugged out and in a tent for days witout assistance is enough to make one think. I applaud those that take safety of a community seriously and volunteer to keep it safe. I will assume that if this was YOUR child, you would expect to get help…no?

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  • Out of allllllllllllll the kids & teens that go to BM with their folks this is seriously the FIRST kid to go missing? Wow, kudos people….that’s amazing – not because of “male pervs” but just the environment is brutal especially for newbies.

    Adapt & evolve, that’s been the way of things hasn’t it?

    Kids can always be trusted….to be kids.

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  • According to a post that led me here the girl doped up on ketamine in a guys tent who is known for being date rapey. Can’t verify the veracity of it but the poster claimed he was camping with the guy and is trying to figure out how much impact this had to the event. Given this and the 19 year old girl who was raped this year it seems people woul be a little more sympathetic and interested in first finding out the what really happened before trashing on some 15 year old girl for being an attention whore (the above information is just hearsay as far as I’m concerned, but it was the first I’d heard of it and seems worth investigating).

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  • “They gave me the LSD and they took me to the hotel,” “I don’t know what they done to me, but I remember, it was horrible.” “They gave you what?” says the judge. “L.. S… D.” “CASTRATION!” “DOUBLE CASTRATION!”

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  • Class action lawsuit!? Are you kidding me? Read the back of your ticket.

    As a member of the BRC Gate (and my opinions are my own, not official) I am always quite proud during an Amber Alert, when our community functions as one in order to prevent even one from being hurt, if we can help it.

    Think about it this way: Someone abducts a girl or boy. They manage to get the unconscious individual to the dunes somehow. Then they leave the City with their gear and car packed, knowing how we do during an Amber Alert, and they simply go to the highway to walk back down in the dunes and retreive their abductee. That may be one way to do it … may be one of the reasons we shut down the City when an Amber Alert is on. So if you want to try thinking like a d-bag, aim lower.

    But yes, @Jessica, you make a good point. Tell all your friends who think that way to go to Coachella instead, where there’s a hugely profitable corporation worth suing. We will continue to stop the flow at the BRC gates if a parent is worried their child may be missing and in danger, if you don’t mind.

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