MACHIAS (AP) – A man has been charged with providing alcohol to a teenage girl before she was found dead in the Pleasant River last August.

Maine State Police have charged Justin Skeate, 21, of Columbia, with providing alcohol to Krystal Higgins, 17, the night she went missing. Higgins’ body was found last August near a boat landing, four days after she failed to return home.

Skeate pleaded not guilty Wednesday in District Court to the only criminal charge filed in connection with Higgins’ disappearance. Skeate faces up to a year in jail if he is found guilty.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers searched the area around Columbia Falls after Higgins’ disappearance last year. Some of Higgins’ friends told police at the time that they had been drinking and riding with Higgins that night.

Higgins may have tried to visit a male friend she had a crush on who lived not far from the landing, investigators said. She had tried calling him a couple times on her cell phone after midnight the night she disappeared.

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