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Complex missing person case also involves marijuana and assault

A recent Lackawanna County case that began as a routine missing persons investigation produced a bizarre sequence of events that have led to numerous criminal charges, including drug offenses, concealing a minor child and assault.

The case began on June 12 when the Old Forge police department received a call that a 14-year old girl was missing. The police spent the weekend searching for the young woman, and both the state police and FBI eventually became involved. Meanwhile the girl's parents began receiving unusual phone messages from a county in Florida.

On Monday, Old Forge officers responded to a phone message left on a tip line and visited the home of a woman on Sussex Street in Old Forge. The woman's boyfriend answered the door and denied that the missing girl was present. When police inspected the house, they found a marijuana-growing operation on the third floor. The police collected various drugs and supplies with the intent to file charges. After returning to the station, the police received another call stating that the missing girl was indeed in the house on Sussex Street. Upon returning to the house, the police found the missing girl, who had been hiding under a mattress when the police first inspected the house.

After arresting the woman who owned the house on charges of concealing the whereabouts of a missing child, manufacture and possession of marijuana and related crimes, the police began working on leads they had received during the course of their investigation. The leads led to the arrest of the boyfriend and additional charges against the woman for aggravated and simple assault arising out of a drug deal. Both the man and the woman are being held in lieu of $20,000 bail each.

The criminal charges against the couple are serious. Anyone facing similar charges may find consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be helpful. A knowledgeable lawyer can offer a helpful assessment of the facts of the cases, the nature of the charges and the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Old Forge couple charged after odd missing-teen case," David Singleton, June 20, 2015

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