A missing teenager from Tennessee was found alive on Thursday and now her adoptive father, who made an emotional public plea for the girl’s safe return, is behind bars for allegedly raping her.
The 14-year-old girl was found in Wisconsin, Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones told reporters at a news conference. The teen had vanished from her family’s Madisonville home during the early morning hours of Jan. 14.
"It's like having your soul ripped out of your body," her adoptive father Randall Pruitt, 41, said at the time, according to local Tennessee outlet WATE. "You can't think, you can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't rest - life has just ceased for us since she left."
Now, Pruitt is being charged with the girl’s rape. Pruitt was charged on Thursday, the same day that his adoptive daughter was found in a different state, according to WVLT in Knoxville.
“She's in good health. She's safe, she's warm," Jones said at the press conference on Thursday, adding that he believes the girl ran away to flee a bad living situation.
When the teen vanished, her family had relocated to Tennessee from Lawrenceville, Georgia just one month prior, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Pruitt is due in court on Feb. 5. He is being held without bond
Two days after she vanished, the teen’s cell phone pinged in Corbin, Kentucky. Authorities have not yet disclosed if she was also in Kentucky.
"I'm having to be vague in all my statements because this is still an ongoing investigation," Jones said at the press conference. "There’s the possibility of multiple other charges coming forward with multiple people involved. And truthfully that’s about all we can say at this time."
[Photo: Monroe County Sheriff's Office]
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