A Cedar Springs teenager missing for four days was found Tuesday evening, and those who harbored her may face charges.
According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the 13-year-old girl was reported missing Saturday to the Kent County Sheriff Department. The Cedar Springs Police assisted them by checking out any leads and speaking with friends and fellow students of the girl.
Officer Mandy Stahl met with the girl’s parents on Tuesday, October 21 at 6 p.m. Police found out that the girl was inside an apartment at the Meadowcreek Apartments complex on East Oak Street. When Officer Stahl entered the apartment, she was told the girl was in the rear bedroom. When the officer entered the bedroom, she saw the girl jump from the second floor window. The girl then ran off into the woods.
Deputies from Kent County were called to help set up a perimeter, and a K-9 unit responded from the Michigan State Police. The K-9 handler followed a trail that circled through the woods, swamp and nearby fields. By 7:30 p.m. they called off the track.
The teenager was seen later, about 9 p.m., by a perimeter unit and taken into custody. An ambulance was called to the scene to treat the girl for numerous cuts and abrasions, caused from running through the thick, wooded area. “At one point, she removed much of her outer clothing because they were wet and very heavy from walking through the swamp,” explained Parent. “This only added to her receiving so many soft tissue injuries.” The girl was transported and treated at the hospital.
Chief Parent said their investigation is continuing, and that they will seek charges for those who assisted her or harbored her as a juvenile runaway. “The apartment she was found at has been warned before for allowing young teens to hang out while skipping school,” explained Parent. “In addition to seeking charges, the apartment management will be contacted and asked to take appropriate action.”
State law has both a 90-day misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and a one-year misdemeanor for harboring a juvenile runaway.