Hayleigh Wilson, 14, was found more than two weeks after she vanished with a convicted child molester she met online. In the middle of the night, the Tennessee teen stole her dad’s pickup truck and and drove to meet Benjamin Shook.
Wilson spent her first full day back with her family as a defendant in a courtroom. The teen was charged with theft and running away, according to Surgoinsville Police Chief James Hammonds. She is also accused of stealing her father’s truck and other items to before going to meet with Shook.
The Tennessee teen and Shook, 41, reportedly met via Kik — an online messaging app. The pair is believed to have lived in the woods on nothing more than apples and oatmeal. Hayleigh Wilson and the sex offender were found at a trailer park in Atkins, Virginia, earlier this week.
After running away from her Surgoinsville, Tennessee, home, Wilson and Shook were spotted on surveillance cameras twice in the North Carolina and Virginia area.
Cole Billes stated during an interview with WCYB that Hayleigh Wilson and Benjamin Shook knocked on her door of her trailer around 5 a.m. and confessed that they were running from the law and begged to take a shower. Billies said she promised not to call the police, but immediately dialed 911 when Shook got into her shower.
Shook was convicted on child molestation charges in Georgia and spent a decade in prison. He was sent to prison in 2004 and was released on parole in September, 2014.
“I’m tired of running,” Shook reportedly told Virginia police officers when they arrived to arrest him at the trailer park.
Eddie Wilson, the teen’s father, posted an emotional thank you on social media after his daughter was recovered.
“She has been found, thank God. He gets all the praise. And through you all and your prayers… but keep praying ’cause the family’s job has just begun. With all the counseling that we all have to go [through] to try and get our family back in order and our little girl back to being a little girl again.”
When Wilson and Shook were spotted in North Carolina, Eddie Wilson issued a plea with the child molester to bring his daughter home, during an interview with local news station WATE.
“We don’t know if she’s gonna be home tomorrow or a year from now. I want Hayleigh to know that we love her and we want her home and we won’t stop looking for her — she’s our little girl. She’s a respectable little Christian girl — but yet she got lured in. Nobody knows this man so he’s just a total stranger. If she was to see this, I want her to know that I won’t ever quit looking for her. For Hayleigh’s sake I just ask you to be man enough to bring her home safe — just let her out and go your own way, but bring my little girl home, she don’t deserve to be like this.”
Tennessee prosecutors have charged him with failing to register as a sex offender in the state, but additional charges related to the time spend with Hayleigh Wilson are expected to be levied in the near future.
[Images via Shutterstock and Twitter]