Teenage runaway tracked to Maine


ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) – A 15-year-old girl was back in Vermont on Thursday, two days after going to Maine with a man she met on the Internet site MySpace.com, police said.

Ashley Palmer, of St. Albans, was found at an interstate rest area in Maine, with Chad Alexander, 18, of Rangeley.

Police say the two met on the Internet. Investigators are trying to determine how long the two had been corresponding.

St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor said investigators were also trying to determine if the two had an improper physical contact.

Taylor said Ashley left voluntarily, but because she is underage Alexander could face kidnapping or custodial interference charges.

“That would be up to the state’s attorney’s office,” Taylor said. “We still need to do the investigation, and we won’t know more until the forensics are done on the computer, and until further interviews are done.”

Ashley was reported missing Tuesday night after she missed a curfew. She was last seen getting into a car with Maine license plates Tuesday morning, police said. Taylor said he did not know if Ashley’s grandmother was home when Alexander allegedly picked up Ashley.

Maine State Police troopers found Ashley and Alexander at an Interstate information center. Sheriffs’ deputies from Franklin County, Maine, brought Ashley back to Vermont, where she was placed in state custody.

Ashley has been living with her grandmother in St. Albans.

Myplace, a popular spot for young people, enables computer users to meet any of more than 60 million members. Users post searchable profiles that can include photos of themselves and such details as where they live and what music they like.

There have been scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors they met through the site.