A young Michigan girl has been found pregnant a year and a half after she was reported missing, and police are now investigating whether she had been sexually assaulted.
In early September 2021, a foster family in St. Clair County, Michigan, an hour northeast of Detroit, claimed that a 13-year-old girl who had recently been placed in their care had run away, just one day before she was to be moved to a more permanent situation. Local police contacted the county sheriff's office as well as the Port Huron police, who were already familiar with the girl.
Police and sheriff's deputies regularly investigated the girl's disappearance. The girl had been reported missing, and the foster care specialist overseeing the girl's case suspected that her biological mother may have been involved, frequently relocating the girl in various residences throughout the county to evade law enforcement. The foster care specialist even considered filing charges against the birth mother for harboring a runaway.
Despite the involvement of several law enforcement and foster care officials, the girl remained missing for nearly 18 months when the Missing Children's Clearinghouse Intelligence Operations Division of the Michigan State Police received word that the girl had become pregnant, possibly as the result of a sexual assault.
"Due to this possible change in events," a statement from the sheriff's office said, the MSP and the U.S. Marshals became involved in the case on Tuesday. That same day, the U.S. Marshals obtained a search warrant for a residence in Port Huron, where they ultimately found the girl hiding in a closet.
"She was crying, she was afraid," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Watson. "She was afraid she was going to end up back in foster care."
Watson added that the girl was also "visibly pregnant." "She was shaken up," he stated. "You know, she's such a young girl."
Watson claimed that the homeowners of the residence where the girl was found initially lied to investigators and denied that the girl was there. There are also allegations that someone else in the house must have placed items on top of the girl while she was in the closet to keep her better concealed. Though no charges have been brought against the homeowners or the girl's mother at this point, police are still considering them.
"Currently, the Sheriff's Office and Port Huron Police Department are conducting interviews to ensure that anyone involved is criminally held responsible, ranging from harboring this runaway to sexual assault," the statement from the sheriff's office said.
A medical examination at a local hospital confirmed that the girl is "several months' pregnant." She has since been placed in the care of her biological father.
Though the girl has been found, St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King expressed frustration that the U.S. Marshals and the MSP did not keep his team better informed about updates in the investigation. "Both myself and (Port Huron Police) Chief (Joe) Platzer are disappointed in the lack of notification and cooperation from the Marshals," King said. "Had we been included in the execution of the search warrant, we could have had the opportunity to collect evidence of other potential crimes committed against the missing juvenile."
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