Details about the clues that helped Virginia investigators find and rescue a missing teen who had allegedly been abducted by her mother's ex-boyfriend have been trickling in.
Turns out, the suspect’s own mother had a hand in it.
Isabel Hicks, 14, was found safe on Wednesday night after investigators pulled over the vehicle that her alleged abductor Bruce William Lynch Jr., 33, was driving, according to the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office.
During a Thursday press conference, the FBI credited an observant driver with pinpointing the Toyota Matrix in Caroline County, Virginia.
"It’s not often enough that law enforcement gets to stand at a press conference and announce the successful recovery of a young person who’s been missing for an extended period of time," Neil Mathison, assistant special agent in charge of the Richmond FBI Office said. "It was an observant set of eyes from the community that made that one call that we needed to bring Isabel home to her family."
But, the search was narrowed down to specific regions of Virginia due to a sighting on Monday in Montpelier, Virginia. Previously, officials thought the pair could be traveling out of state, possibly in West Virginia.
That Monday sighting was called in by Lynch’s own mother, Lisa Harper. Her son knocked on her door and she tried to get him to turn himself it, she said.
"It can be worked out. Get somebody to take you to the Louisa Police Department. Please!" she explained in an interview with WTVR in Richmond.
"I told them they can't be here - they're wanted," she said. "I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. My eyes got real wide and I told him he has an ultimatum. Either turn himself in or I'm calling the police."
Calling the police was just what she did after her son and the teen ran into the woods.
Mathison said that Hicks is now at home with her family. Louisa Sheriff's Major Donnie Lowe read a message from her family at Thursday’s presser.
"We just want to say thank you to any and all law enforcement, anyone that prayed, came by, made dinner, donated money or even drove around looking for Isabel,” the statement reads. “She’s at home, she’s tired and overwhelmed by everything. We truly appreciate everything that’s been done to reunite her with our family at the hardest times of our lives.”
Lynch allegedly abducted Hicks from her home in Bumpass around 10 days ago. He previously dated Hicks’ mother, according to WRIC in Richmond. He was also apparently living with both the mother and daughter until he was kicked out a month ago, unnamed sources told WTVR in Richmond. Those same sources do not believe that the eighth grader was initially taken against her will.
Both the FBI and the sheriff’s office had initially stated that they believed Lynch was armed and dangerous. The sheriff’s office noted that he “had recent suicidal ideations.”
It’s not yet clear if Lynch has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time. There was a felony abduction warrant out on him but it’s not clear if he has been formally charged with anything yet.
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