Missing Tenn. Teen Is Found Alive in Wis., Stepdad Who Pleaded For Safe Return on TV Is Arrested
Police on Thursday found a missing 14-year-old Tennessee teen last seen 18 days earlier and charged her stepfather in connection with her disappearance.
Savannah Leigh Pruitt, of Madisonville, was in “good health” after her recovery in Wisconsin, Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones said at a news conference, reports Knoxville TV station WBIR.
“She is safe she is in custody, and that’s the best outcome for the situation,” he said, according to the outlet.
On the same day, her adoptive father, Randall Lee Pruitt, 41, was arrested and is being held without bond in the Monroe County Jail on a single criminal charge related to the case, reports another Knoxville TV station, WATE.
Authorities did not reveal what led the teen to Wisconsin, but said she was believed to have been “fleeing from a bad home situation.”
Police had been searching for the teen across four states after she was last seen at her home on the night of Jan. 13. Her mother, Christina Pruitt, told authorities she last spotted her daughter heading to bed between 11 and 11:30 p.m.
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Hours later, between 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., the teen’s two cell phones pinged in the Corbin, Kentucky, area — nearly 140 miles from her hometown, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives said at an earlier press conference.
Authorities previously said that they did not consider Savannah a runaway. Her bedroom window was found open and some of her sheets and articles of clothing were missing.
The family was newly arrived in Monroe County, having moved back to Madisonville in late December from Lawrenceville, Georgia, where they had lived for many years, local station WSB-TV Atlanta reported.
Last month Randall had joined Savannah’s mother in pleading for the teen’s safe return, according to WATE.
“It’s like having your soul ripped out of your body,” Randall said then. “You can’t think, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t rest — life has just ceased for us since she left.”