The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 14, 2013

Conneaut woman who harbored a runaway could be going to court

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Charges are pending against a Conneaut woman who police said sheltered a runaway, 12-year-old neighbor for two days this week, officials said.

The woman, who lives on Adams Street, could be charged with endangering children, along with interfering with parental custody, after the law director’s office reviews a report, said Police Chief Charles Burlingham.

The child was located unharmed Thursday afternoon, Burlingham said.

On Tuesday, Lori Sayers of Mill Street contacted police to report her daughter, a seventh-grade student at Conneaut Middle School, had disappeared after coming home from classes. “She got off the school bus, came home, wrote a note, packed a bag and left,” Sayers said.

Anxious relatives mounted a campaign to alert the area, posting flies with the girl’s photo and description “from Albion (Pa.) to Kingsville,” Sayers said.

Two days later, police — acting on a tip provided by Sayers — located the girl on nearby Adams Street. Sayers’ daughter is acquainted with the suspect’s young son, she said. Sayers said she became suspicious when the boy, usually very friendly, made a point of avoiding her since her daughter’s disappearance.

On Thursday, Sayers shared her observation with the police, who immediately went to the Adams Street house, she said. The girl was located in an upstairs bedroom, Burlingham said. She had not been held against her will, he said.

Sayers said she wanted to thank the Conneaut Police Department for its diligence and the Conneaut Public Library for printing at no cost the fliers distributed in the area. “They were absolutely awesome,” she said.

The family also benefited from a large network of people who assisted the search, Sayers said.

“We had quite a few people out there digging,” she said. “I wasn’t going to stop until my daughter was brought home.”