Missing girl, 15, found in locked room
BLOOMFIELD, Conn.- A 15-year-old girl who had been missing for nearly a year was found alive Wednesday in a small hidden room under a staircase in a home owned by an acquaintance of her parents, police said.
Investigators arrested a couple living at the West Hartford home.
Police in nearby Bloomfield said they found the girl in a room blocked from view by a dresser. They said they had gone to the home with West Hartford police to serve search warrants for DNA and other evidence, but investigators would not say whether the warrants were related to the missing girl.
It did not appear the girl had been living in the room, but she could not have gotten out on her own, Bloomfield police Capt. Jeffrey Blatter said. It was not clear how long she had been inside.
Blatter said the girl was pale, but he would not identify her or comment further on her state of mind and physical condition when she was found. She was being examined by medical personnel.
“We can all assume that a 14-year-old under the influence of a 40-year-old has been harmed in some way,” he said.
The home’s owner, Adam Gault, 41, an animal trainer from West Hartford, was charged with second-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree custodial interference, interfering with an officer, risk of injury to a minor and second-degree forgery. He was being held on $500,000 bond.
Ann Murphy, 40, described by police as Gault’s common-law wife, was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit second-degree custodial interference and risk of injury to a minor. She was held on $100,000 bond.
The girl had been known to run away, Blatter said.
“She is a child from troubled circumstances and found what she believed to be a friend” in Gault, Blatter said.
Police said they expect to make more arrests.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) – Police on Wednesday found a body they believe is that of a teenager who disappeared four days ago after she was apparently abducted from a department store parking lot.
Police Chief John Douglass said the body was found across the state line at a Grandview, Mo., lake. Positive identification was pending, but authorities believed it was 18-year-old Kelsey Smith.
Officers had been searching woods at the lake since Tuesday after investigators isolated two signals from Smith’s cell phone to an area about 15 miles east of the Target store in suburban Kansas City.
Police have not identified a suspect or a motive in the slaying, Douglass said.
Authorities were still seeking information about a young man videotaped entering and leaving the Target store within moments of Smith. He said police still considered the unidentified man a “person of interest” and not a suspect.
Smith’s parents, Greg and Missy Smith, said Wednesday on “The Early Show” that they do not know the man in the surveillance video.
“None of our immediate family recognize him,” Greg Smith told CBS.
Officers also continued to look for information about a dark pickup that was seen entering the Target parking lot shortly after Smith’s car. Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, the pickup pulled into the parking lot aisle where Smith had parked about one minute earlier, police said. A man is seen leaving the pickup and going into the Target store Smith had entered.
On Tuesday, police also released video showing a woman they believe is Smith being forced into her car.
Smith, who graduated from high school less than two weeks ago, left the store around 7:10 p.m. and put packages into her car when someone ran toward her, police said.
“You see two individuals come together, and there is no separation of those two individuals,” Douglass said. “So it is easy to conclude there was some kind of incident at the back of the car. Then the car leaves.”
But the tape was “just not detailed enough” and was being enhanced at a forensics lab, Douglass said.
“We see activity,” Douglass said of the videotape. “We are moving on the assumption ” because the prudent thing to do is to treat this as an abduction ” that there was some kind of force involved.”
Investigators said they don’t know whether Smith was picked at random or abducted by someone she knew.
About two hours after Smith disappeared, her grandparents found her car in a parking lot at a mall in suburban Kansas City with her purse and packages still inside.
The Smith family increased the reward for information about Kelsey’s disappearance to $30,000. Greg Smith, who has been in law enforcement for 16 years, described his daughter as an outgoing young woman who planned to be a veterinarian.
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