A 14-year-old Georgia girl who had been missing for more than a week was found Wednesday night when police raided a house in a community not far from her home.
Amber Graham of Aragon, Ga., was found in a house in the nearby town of Rockmart.
Police, using a search warrant based on a tip, arrested the occupants of the home: Stacie Fennell and her 15-year-old son, who was identified as the girl's boyfriend.
Authorities said Amber was unharmed.
Fennell and the boy, who was not named because he is a juvenile, have been charged with obstruction of justice, hindering an investigation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Aragon Police Captain Dwayne Alexander. The pair are currently being held, pending a court hearing.
Alexander said Amber originally went along with a scheme to run away to the Fennell home, but she seemed relieved when police raided the home. According to Alexander, police learned that the boy had a hidden compartment in his room that allowed Amber to avoid a consensual search of the house last week.
He said a tipster told police on Wednesday about the hideaway in the home, which opened to an attic room. Police then used that information to obtain the search warrant.
Police acted so swiftly that Amber was actually found in the boy’s bedroom, before she could be hidden.
Amber is currently in the custody of the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice, Alexander said. He said there wasn’t an argument or fight that precipitated her running away from her home. “The family seems to be a loving family. There doesn’t seem to be any problems there,” Alexander said.
Also taken away from Fennell's home were the family's 18 cats and three dogs.
Ruthann Dabbs, Amber’s godmother, said the family was elated that their ordeal was over, and they were waiting for her to come home.
“It is a happy ending,” she said
Amber was last seen on Feb. 20 when her mother put her to bed. Later that night, her mother checked her room and found that she was missing and her bedroom window was open. Police originally treated the case as a runaway, but they became concerned for Amber's safety when she failed to return home and her cell phone could no longer be monitored. Over the next few days they organized several searches, but they continued to focus on her boyfriend’s house.
The boyfriend and the mother originally cooperated and allowed police to search the house. In that search police found marijuana and charged the boy. After that the family refused to cooperate further.
Friends and family say there are still questions that have to be answered, and they speculated that Amber went over to the house willingly but was forced to stay once the police became involved. Police refused to comment on that possibility.