Disturbing new details are emerging about O'Donnell's daughter, who suffers from mental illness and was missing for a week

By Charlotte Triggs
August 19, 2015 05:00 PM
Getty; Courtesy Rosie O'Donnell

One day after Rosie O’Donnell‘s daughter Chelsea, 17, was found by police after having gone missing, disturbing new details are emerging.

The teen, who O’Donnell revealed suffers from mental illness and had gone off her medication, was missing for an entire week, a source tells PEOPLE, and was found in the home of an alleged heroin addict in New Jersey.

“Chelsea left the house a week ago. Rosie thought she was with friends and that was not the case. She just didn’t come home,” says the source. “She was missing for a week. People were looking for her locally. As soon as it became national news, the police were able to find her.”

Perhaps most troubling is Chelsea’s connection to the alleged drug addict.

“She met him online,” says the source. “She is underage. This guy was [25], and he had her daughter in New Jersey.”

The source says the man was not Chelsea’s boyfriend.

“Whether he picked her up or if she drove to meet him in New Jersey, nobody knows,” says the source.

When cops traced Chelsea’s cell phone to his house, he initially “lied and said she was not there,” the source reveals.

A spokesman for the Ocean County Police Department tells PEOPLE the precinct received a call around 6 p.m. Tuesday night and triangulated the location of Chelsea’s cell phone to the house of Steven Sheerer, whom O’Donnell would name Wednesday on social media.

Upon talking to Sheerer, the officer “knew something was up. He could tell something was off with Sheerer. His behavioral cues were off. He could tell he was hiding something and was nervous,” police tell PEOPLE.

When the officer entered the house and his search reached the attic, he found Chelsea: “She was hiding up there,” confirms the OCPD spokesman. “She cooperated very well. … She came down and we brought her to the police station. Our role is making sure she’s happy, health and safe.”

He added, “We are familiar with Steven,” and confirms that Sheerer has been arrested for heroin possession in the past (though he could not confirm whether Sheerer had been charged).

O’Donnell was “very thankful,” says the spokesman. “She reached out to us personally and thanked us for finding her daughter. She really appreciated everything we did. We don’t always get thank yous from people so to get it from Rosie when she is dealing with something that is very difficult and dealing with it so publicly, that means a lot.”

As for reports Chelsea had been seeking out her birth mother, “Chelsea did reach out to her birth mother months ago, but this did not have anything to do with that,” says the source, adding that it was unclear how long she had been off her mental health medication.

“Rosie is very concerned about the guy she was found with,” says the source. “Rosie is extremely concerned about everything and is trying to figure out what to do next.”

With reporting by CAITLIN KEATING and EMILY STROHM

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