A very misleading press release: This from Sheriff Franklin:
Sheriff Ana Franklin I have great news! We have found the missing 13 year old girl. We are making arrangements for her safe return. I would like to thank everyone, the fire department, rescue squad and search dogs for helping in this search. Also, I am very proud of our Sheriff's Office personnel that when we hit the ground running, we never gave up. In the past six hours we have had a command post set up so all information could be obtained in one location. We utilize the command post so all the information obtained is brought into one central location so we don't triple our efforts, therefore, getting more accomplished. A job well done, and most importantly the missing girl was found unharmed.
This leads one to believe the missing girl was found by way of a "search", when she was actually in Athens and called to turn herself in, in an unusual way.
The real story:
Authorities said Kaitlyn Dempsy, 13, a student at Eva School, enlisted two people she knew — friends of her sister’s boyfriend — to assist her in leaving home.
Aaron Jene Welker, 20, who authorities said was evicted from his house in Decatur and has been homeless for about four months, and his girlfriend, Emily Alyne Waldrop, 20, of Athens, were arrested Monday night and charged with interference with custody.
Welker remained in Morgan County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $15,000 bail. Waldrop was released from jail Tuesday on $15,000 bail.
Sgt. Kyle Wilson, investigator with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, told how the missing girl puzzle was resolved.
Kaitlyn called Welker and Waldrop on her cellphone and told them to pick her up. She met the pair at the end of Buck Road in Oden Ridge near her southeast Morgan County home. Her parents reported her missing at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
After the trio went to a movie in Huntsville, they went to an Athens motel where Welker and Waldrop cut and dyed Kaitlyn’s hair to change her appearance.
Wilson said when the couple, who have been sleeping in Waldrop’s car, saw a newscast about the missing girl, they became frightened and drove to Nashville.
“Emily’s comment during her interview was if they took Kaitlyn to Nashville until everything calmed down and then brought her back to Alabama, everything will be all right,” Wilson said. “But once a child runs away, it never ends. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this.”
The trio returned to Alabama and spent Sunday night at a truck stop near the state line.
“Sometime Monday afternoon, Waldrop dropped off Welker and Kaitlyn at Starbucks in Athens and she left,” Wilson said. “Kaitlyn got on WiFi, went to her Facebook page and saw how much everybody was missing her. She decided she wanted to go back home.”
Wilson said Welker concocted the story that he had found Kaitlyn and was being a Good Samaritan, and Kaitlyn went along with the story.
“He walked into a real estate office with Kaitlyn and said he found this missing girl from Morgan County,” Wilson said. “He asked, ‘Would you call the police?’ ”
Athens police contacted Morgan County authorities.
“We interviewed the juvenile first, and in the beginning Welker refused to cooperate,” Wilson said. “We knew Waldrop was around Athens somewhere, and we put out a (be on the lookout) on her. Athens police located her, brought her back to the Police Department, and we interviewed her. We put two and two together and returned to Welker. He broke down and told us everything. We arrested the couple at 7:30 p.m.”
Wilson said officials released Kaitlyn to her parents, and they picked up their daughter about 8 p.m.
“There were tears and hugging among all three, and it was evident Kaitlyn was happy to be going home,” Wilson said. “I think Kaitlyn learned a lesson. I don’t think she realized how many people cared about her.”
At one point Monday, Lt. Justin Powell, of the Morgan County Rescue Squad, sent a notice saying the search for Kaitlyn had been suspended.
“We have reason to believe she is staying with friends or relatives near her home,” he said.
Later Monday, Powell said, the girl had been located and was safe. He offered no additional information.
Wilson said members of the Criminal Investigation Division, Special Victims Unit, the Morgan County Rescue Squad and the Oden Ridge Volunteer Fire Department worked on the case.
As you can see, very misleading on the Sheriff's part, the search had been called off. Very misleading press release on her part.