FBI: Missing out-of-state 14-year-old found, safe, in Madison
MADISON, Wis. — A Tennessee girl who was missing for more than two weeks was found safe in Madison Thursday night, law enforcement officials said.
The FBI Milwaukee division thanked Madison police and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for their help in finding the 14-year-old girl.
“Always proud to assist our law enforcement partners,” Madison police tweeted Friday morning in response to the FBI’s message.
The girl had been reported missing out of Madisonville, Tennessee, the Monroe County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office said. She had last been seen Jan. 13 at her home.
“Here we had two cases from around the country, both young girls recovered in Wisconsin,” said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, referring to Jayme Closs’s recovery three weeks ago. “Out of the thousands that go missing, to have one who can be returned safely to their family is what this job is all about.”
Mahoney said a sheriff’s department detective was part of the FBI task force searching for the girl.
“I feel very strongly about sharing our resources locally, at the state level and also with our federal partners,” he said. “The more we can cooperate, the more — when these cases occur — we know each other, we know our resources, and we can share in our resources to bring these kinds of positive outcomes.”
FBI Special Agent Jason Pack, spokesman for the FBI Knoxville Field Office, said the agency is currently conducting interviews and is unable to say whether or not the girl was abducted.
“Our joint investigation into her disappearance continues,” Pack said in a statement on Friday. “We are also working with Wisconsin Law Enforcement and the FBI Milwaukee field office to determine how she got to the greater Madison area. Victim specialists have been working with her since she was recovered to provide the support she needs. Additionally, detectives with the Monroe County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office are in Wisconsin to meet with her and bring her home.”
On Thursday, the same day that the girl was found safe, officials announced her adoptive father, Randall Pruitt, had been arrested and charged with rape in Tennessee.
Probable cause documents from Monroe County show Pruitt’s arrest stemmed from photos and videos taken on his cellphone.
“I can’t go in great detail on it, but I can say that he was arrested and charged with rape,” Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones said. “We don’t believe at this time that he has any connection to the, her being a runaway or missing.”
Jones said there’s a possibility that multiple charges will be filed against multiple people involved in this case.
In the meantime, Mahoney is grateful that another missing teen is found.
“It makes me feel uplifted that we found a second child safe,” he said. “It’s a great way to start out the new year.”
Previously, News 3 named and showed the picture of the girl in this case as people actively searched for her. We’ve decided to remove her name from our reporting to try to minimize harm to the teen in this case.
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