A teenager missing for a year has been found alive and released from the clutches of her alleged captor, and reunited with her parents who say her return is a "miracle".

But amid the smiles, tears and relief, the Charlotte teenager's mother has revealed her daughter is "different now".

"There are changes in my daughter. She is not the same person that left and that is the hardest part of this," Shaunna Burns told wscotv's Channel 9.

She said the 17-year-old had lost up to 10kg and was exhausted when she was finally discovered.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, the man charged in relation to her disappearance, 31-year-old Michael Ren Wysolovski, has appeared in court and been denied bond.

Sodomy, cruelty charges

He sat emotionless, staring straight ahead as the judge read out the charges, Fox 5 News reports.

"You have been charged, sir, with aggravated sodomy, cruelty to children, deprivation in the first degree, interference with custody and false imprisonment, all of these are felonies," said the judge. Wysolovski remains in custody.

Hailey went missing in May 23, 2016, from her home near Charlotte, North Carolina.

Her parents could not give full details of her ordeal because of the ongoing investigation, but believe she was lured away by an older man she met online.

Her parents said on the night she went missing, they woke to find the front door unlocked and believe Hailey had walked out and been picked up a little more than a kilometre from her home.

"[He] got her in the car, brought her straight to his house and she pretty much had to stay there the whole time," Shaunna Burns told wscotv.

"This is our child, our baby. We would never hurt her and the idea that someone did is really, really hard."

Advertisement

How they found her

The search for Hailey used social media, billboards, public appeals, police investigations and the FBI, and ultimately it's believed a Facebook tip led to Hailey's discovery.

It's believed Hailey met a woman online from Romania. The two started to chat when Hailey told the woman she was missing.

After researching the case, that woman contacted Hailey's parents.

"I got a message that said, 'I've been in communication with your daughter and she's alive and she wants to come home,' and from there it has been like an avalanche," Burns said.

Michael Wysolovski has been charged over Hailey's disappearance. Photo/Twitter
Michael Wysolovski has been charged over Hailey's disappearance. Photo/Twitter

But Hailey didn't know where she was, when asked, so she took a photograph from the house window, and within hours she was rescued.

Former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker said the response was remarkable.

"The victim took a picture outside and all they had to go on was the neighbourhood, and what it looked like from inside the house," he said.

"They did enough research and gumshoe work to figure out where that young woman was being held. That's a nice piece of work."

Within hours of the initial contact with Hailey's parents, FBI agents and police had raided Wysolovski's home in Duluth, Georgia.

Quiet couple not what they seemed

According to the Gwinnett County Property Assessor's website, Wysolovski bought the home in Duluth on April 14 of this year.

Seneca Trail residents were shocked to learn the "quiet couple" were not as they seemed.

"It makes me sick to my stomach, actually that someone could do that," Jennifer Elmore, who lives next door to the home, told Fox 5 News.

Her parents never gave up hope of finding their daughter, issuing a public plea for her safe return on the anniversary of her disappearance.

WCNC-TV reported in June 2016 that Hailey, then 16, vanished after walking out of her home.

Family members said Hailey has Asperger's syndrome and left her home without her medication.

At the time of her disappearance, the family told WCNC-TV they tried to limit their daughter's use of computers after discovering she had been talking to strangers online.

They said she did not even have a mobile phone, but still they believe she was able to communicate with someone and left to meet that person. Her father says they tried everything to keep her away from social media.