Ex-Con And Sex Offender Arrested After Missing Teen Found Naked And Incoherent In New Orleans Apartment, Cops Say

The missing 16-year-old girl's family received threatening text messages after she'd disappeared, police say. Stephen Cooley and Justin Noel were soon and taken into custody. 

By The Associated Press

A missing 16-year-old was found, nude and incoherent, after her family received threatening text messages, and a registered sex offender and a man paroled after a manslaughter conviction have been arrested, Louisiana State Police said Tuesday.

The girl had been missing for days when she was found, Senior Trooper Melissa Matey said in a telephone interview. She received medical treatment and is safe, a news release said.

Stephen Cooley, 54, on parole for manslaughter, and Justin Noel, 42, a registered sex offender, were arrested Monday on charges of contributing to juvenile delinquency, Matey said in the news release. More charges and more arrests are probable, she said.

Cooley was arrested at the New Orleans apartment from which the girl had been rescued earlier, and Noel was arrested in another New Orleans neighborhood, Matey said.

The New Orleans sexual offender registry describes Noel as a court-determined child sexual predator.

Justin Noel and Stephen Cooley

It states that he was convicted both in 1994 and in 2000 of both forcible rape and kidnapping. He was released from prison in 2001 after the first conviction and in 2015 after the second.

The more recent conviction included a charge of aggravated oral sexual battery, and the 1994 conviction included aggravated crime against nature.

Asked whether the girl originally went with the men voluntarily and whether she was sexually assaulted and/or drugged, Matey said those all are part of the investigation.

"It's still in early stages," she said.

Both Cooley and Noel were booked in the Orleans Justice Center as of Wednesday morning, according to online records.

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