A Tennessee girl has been found alive after a sex offender took her to Virginia. According to Fox News, convicted sex offender Benjamin Shook, 41, and Hayleigh Wilson, 14, met online — specifically on Kik Messenger, which is known to be a popular app for “sexting” among teenagers.
An Amber Alert was issued after the teen stole her stepdad’s Ford Explorer. Authorities say that Hayleigh drove the SUV to pick up Shook, after chatting online for an unknown amount of time.
Upon meeting, the two decided to leave the state together, driving to Virginia, and laying low in a trailer park. It is unclear if the teen was cooperative, but it appears she wanted to run away with Shook.
Federal, state, and local authorities worked hard to locate the vehicle, and to bring Hayleigh home to her parents.
Thankfully, the Tennessee girl was found alive, and the sex offender was arrested. Police say that Hayleigh was reunited with her parents, but was sent to a child advocacy center for questioning before she was allowed to go home. According to NewsOXY, authorities were pleased with the conclusion, and are thankful for the public’s help in making sure Hayleigh was safe.
“Officials said Tuesday that Shook was arrested and the Tennessee girl was rescued after a woman tipped off authorities that Shook and the teen had knocked on the door of her Smyth County, Virginia home and asked to take a shower. The woman called 911 just after 5 a.m. Tuesday and investigators responded to the home near Atkins, found the teen girl safe and took Shook into custody without incident.”
Since the Tennessee girl was found, the focus has shifted to the sex offender. Reports indicate Shook was wanted by police, and had a number of warrants out for his arrest. He reportedly failed to register as a sex offender, and had previously been charged with child molestation. It is presumed that he and Hayleigh had some kind of relationship, but the extent of that relationship is not clear.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, folks in the North Carolina area reported seeing Hayleigh Wilson and Benjamin Shook at a Wal-Mart the day after she went “missing.” From then on, the two reportedly traveled at night, and kept to themselves to make sure no one saw them. For some reason they thought they’d be undetectable at the trailer park, but their “adventure” came to an end shorty after they arrived.
[Photo via Twitter]