Cece never showed up the next day for practice. Fortner told 20/20 that when Cece failed to show up for her drills, she immediately experienced a sinking feeling. When word got out that Cece was a no-show at basketball practice, students came forward to offer up information about some goings-on the night before at Cece’s dorm. Witnesses stated that Cece was seen storming out the dorm’s back door, climbing onto a bike and peddling into the night.
An Amber Alert was issued and a search for the school’s star basketball player was quickly pulled together involving the police, FBI and state troopers.
Twenty-four hours had gone by since Cece’s unexplained disappearance when an officer stumbled upon the young woman. “One of the policemen who were searching for her almost hit her,” Kathie told 20/20. “She looked right at him and said, ‘I’m Cece Sims,’ and he just melted.”
At the police station Cece recounted a bizarre story about her disappearance.
“Cece said that she walked out of the dorm and a truck pulled up,” Fortner recounted to 20/20. “It was a man and a woman, and they dragged her into the truck…they forced pills and alcohol down her, and, there, they kidnapped her.”
The story that Cece had conjured up was untrue, according to her mom. Instead, Cece reportedly hightailed it to a Wal-Mart just a few miles from the school and drank for the next 18 hours.
Sims later decided to share her lapse in judgment with the media movement “I am Second.” “I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. And so I thought, ‘What better of a way than to say I was kidnapped?’ That way, I wouldn’t have to quit and be known as a quitter,” said Sims, in a video posted on the website iamsecond.com.
It’s been five years since Cece’s dramatic escapade, yet according to Kathie it is still an uphill battle for her daughter who is living at home, seeing a counselor and playing music again. Hindsight is always 20/20 but if Kathie had a do-over regarding the harrowing events that took place five years ago involving Cece, the mom told the ABC news show, “I would’ve pulled back the reins on her basketball, and helped teach her more about balance. And, if your child calls you from college and says, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore. Come get me,’ hear ‘em out.”