Skip to comments.Internet meeting leads 12-year-old to cross-state abduction
Posted on 02/16/2004 8:49:21 AM PST by Dan from Michigan
Internet meeting leads 12-year-old to cross-state abduction
The Associated Press
2/16/2004, 2:52 a.m. ET
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) A 12-year-old Pontiac girl who police say left her home with a man she met on the Internet will return from West Virginia this week.
Pontiac Police Sgt. Kevin Harris said the girl met the 40-year-old man in an Internet chat room, leaving with him Thursday. They drove to West Virginia, where she contacted her family Sunday from Morganstown, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.
The girl's family called Pontiac police, and officers from the Monongalia County Sheriff's Department took the man into custody, the Morganstown Police Department said.
No additional information was available Sunday night.
Police were making arrangements Sunday for the girl to return to Pontiac while an investigation continues into the case, Harris said. Charges are pending against the man, but Harris said he could not elaborate.
The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.)
A frightened Michigan teen slipped away Sunday afternoon from a man she said held her against her will during the weekend at the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa. The girl, missing since Thursday, called her family in Pontiac, Mich., from a pay phone at the resort after getting away from the man she said kidnapped her.
Michael K. Wiedenbein, 48, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested Sunday afternoon by Cpl. Al Hawkins of the Mon County Sheriff's Department. He was taken into custody without incident, Hawkins said. Wiedenbein was charged Sunday night with abduction, kidnapping or concealing a child -- a felony. Mon County Magistrate Alan Lindamood set his bail at $500,000.
Though officials don't know how long the girl had been in contact with Wiedenbein, the two originally met in an online chatroom. It is unclear if the girl left her home in Michigan with Wiedenbein against her will, Hawkins said.
"Basically, a juvenile was on the phone with a family member and said she was being held against her will at Lakeview Resort," Hawkins said. "She said she was calling from a pay phone, but she didn't know where she was."
Hawkins said Lakeview employees were informed of the situation and escorted the girl to a safe place until deputies arrived. Wiedenbein was arrested shortly after 4:30 p.m. Just as deputies arrived on scene, a weekend antiques show at the resort was coming to a close and vendors were packing up merchandise. Wiedenbein may have been involved in the antiques show in some way, Hawkins said.
Wiedenbein and the girl had been at the resort since Friday morning.
"She was afraid to leave him," Hawkins said. "We don't know for sure whether she left home against her will. We're still working on that."
The girl is being treated at Ruby Memorial Hospital and will be escorted home by her parents today. Hawkins said the girl was physically well but under emotional strain. The sheriff's department is not releasing the name of the 13-year-old girl. But Cory Welch, a reporter with WXYZ Channel 7 out of Detroit, Mich., identified her as Chanel Tyler, of Pontiac.
Tyler's mother, Kristine, called the television station Sunday while en route to the Pontiac Police Department, Welch said.
"The girl slipped away, called her grandmother and said, 'Help me,'" Welch said.
Mark Casey, general manager for the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa, said late Sunday afternoon the company did not want to make an official statement until the sheriff's department completed its investigation. "Everything turned out well," Casey said. "We were very proactive in this process, and it sounds like it will be a good ending."