January 13, 2012
Delaware City teen and suspected runaway Stephanie Pritchard was found in Massachusetts almost two weeks after she was reported missing.
Stephanie, 15, was found with a 20-year-old man with whom she had online conversations prior to her disappearance, said Capt. Bruce Pijanowski of the Delaware City Police Department.
The DCPD spoke with the local police in the Massachusetts city where the man lived. When a different city received an anonymous tip about a runaway, the Massachusetts law enforcement made the connection, Pijanowski said. The man was subsequently located and Stephanie was found with him.
A DCPD officer had previously contacted the man, yet did not have a reason to believe that Stephanie was with that man at that time, Pijanowski said.
Instead, the DCPD suspected that Stephanie was staying in the area.
Stephanie’s mother, Patty Cox, believed the same. She said adults had told her that Stephanie was seen in downtown Delaware three different times after her reported disappearance Sept. 4.
Pijanowski said that the case was still under investigation; the possible charges that the man and Stephanie face are currently unknown.
As of print time, Stephanie was en route back to Delaware as a runaway with a warrant on her, Pijanowski said.
Cox confirmed in an email that Stephanie had been found in Massachusetts, yet declined further comment.