Thursday morning, an AMBER Alert was issued for 17-year-old Grace Galliher. Investigators determined that Grace disappeared after leaving her home. The teenage girl was abducted by 52-year-old Richard Tester.
People were told to keep an eye out for the pair and report any sightings to the police. Grace is a 5-foot-4 white female with black hair, where Tester is a 5-foot-9 white male with thinning brown hair. After being seen at a hotel in Marion, Virginia, State Police became involved in the case.
According to Virginia State Police, they were traveling along the Interstate 81. Tester was driving a navy blue Chevrolet TrailBlazer with Tennessee tags. They were heading north, and Galliher was believed to be in “extreme danger” by the VSP.
FBI agents were brought in to help with the case, and information was fielded to the Knoxville Field Office.
The search ended shortly after, and this morning, Richard Tester was taken into custody. He was arrested on Weaver Pike in Bristol, Tennessee. Grace Galliher was also brought under police protection, and she is safe. The two have been taken to the Sullivan County Detention Center for questioning.
Tester was caught after a motorist saw the vehicle and called police. A traffic stop was conducted, and he was arrested.
Your tips worked! An alert motorist spotted the suspect's vehicle about 8:30 this morning and called Bristol, TN Police, who located the SUV and conducted a traffic stop. Tester was arrested on the state kidnapping warrant. Teenager recovered safely.— FBI Knoxville (@FBIKnoxville) July 26, 2018
CBS also reposted a message from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office this morning, reading: “Thank you to all of the agencies that assisted us in finding them!”
It was revealed that Galliher left willingly with Tester, and they had met in person before. Kristen Quon, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, was able to shed light on the situation.
“They did know each other, and she left with him willingly,” she said during a conference. “We were very fortunate to find them when we did.”
Tester’s intentions for Galliher have not been revealed yet, but more information may arrive later in the investigation. Where the two were going and what led them to cross state lines is still being determined. Investigators are working on uncovering information about the rest of the case. For now, Grace is safe and will be reunited with her loved ones soon.
According to WKRN, Richard Tester will be charged with Aggravated Kidnapping. He took a minor across state lines without parental permission and will be charged accordingly. This crime usually comes with a minimum sentence of 20 years. The court date for Tester has not been set yet, though it is assumed he will be charged and kept under surveillance until his trial.