TOMS RIVER — The adoptive father of a teenage girl who didn't come home from school on Friday has issued a public ultimatum against whoever may be holding her.

"You cannot even begin to comprehend the legal nightmare that you could be facing. I encourage you for Ashley's sake and your own family's sake to do the right thing before Tuesday morning," attorney Jef Henninger wrote on behalf of Rob Nieratko, 17-year-old Ashley Combs' uncle and adoptive father. "She is a minor and you have committed a very serious crime."

However, Toms River police say they don't consider Ashley's disappearance suspicious, and have suggested she could be staying with friends.

“All indications are that she left home purposely and would not divulge her location to people she has had contact with.”

The search for Ashley began with a Facebook post by Nieratko, and a plea to share it.

“I want to send a very clear message to the person or persons that may have Ashley. She is a minor and you have committed a very serious crime. We are giving you 24 hours to drop her off at any police station. If that is done, the family will not focus on what you have done. They will just be happy that she is back home," Henninger said.

Police asked anyone with information about her location to call 732-349-0150.

“All indications are that she left home purposely and would not divulge her location to people she has had contact with.” police spokeswoman Jillian Messina said.

Henninger said the family has to "track down every lead," and that police have interviewed other family and friends.

"Either somebody’s lying to the police, which is a crime in of itself, or they honestly don’t know where she is," he said.

Henninger said the family was exploring all possibilities.

"That’s one of the reasons we put our announcement out there to distinguish between somebody trying to help, so to speak, they think they were doing the right thing, maybe they got some information from somebody else. Maybe they think by keeping her wherever she is they’re trying to help her," he said.

The attorney said the ultimatum was not directed at anyone in particular.

He also said there was no particular issue or conflict between Ashley and her parents

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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