The week-long search for a missing 16-year-old girl is, thankfully, over and a registered sex offender has been charged with attempted murder and unlawful sexual activity after a high-speed police chase.
Ashley Lyon, who is from Florida, was spotted traveling with Steven Patrick Myers, 41, by truck stop cashier Fawn Lasseigne Domingue, who recognized the girl's photo from her family's extensive social media campaign efforts to find her. The worker, who had actually read about the missing girl earlier that day on Facebook, called police when she spotted them in the store. The horrific events leading to Lyon's rescue are not to be believed.
Lyon was reported missing on June 11 in Tampa, Fla. According to reports, it seems that no tips were received about the girl until Myers and the teen walked into the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., where they spent no more than 75 seconds in the shop.
But that was enough time for Domingue to recognize the girl from her online photos and sneak into a back office to pull up a video segment on her phone to be sure it was her. She then told the store's manager to call police because she realized Lyon was a "kidnapped girl."
When cops caught up with Myers' stolen car, he was still in the parking lot of the store, Domingue said. The man sped off, which spurred a lengthy police chase that lasted for miles, cops say. When they were able to stop him, officers reportedly subdued Myers with a stun gun and a police dog. Myers was allegedly holding a knife, which police say he used to stab the girl and then himself.
Lyon was brought to a hospital, where she is reportedly in critical condition. The teen is reportedly bipolar and left her medications behind when she went missing. We aren't sure of the details yet of how the man lured her away from her home, but police say he didn't kidnap her, but rather "manipulated her" to go with him.
Myers is a registered sex offender in Florida. He has served two prison sentences in Georgia. In 1999, he was convicted on child molestation charges, and was then sent to jail a second time for a parole violation. He was released in February 2012.
If not for the cashier, who knows how this story would have ended. Domingue reminds us that it's vital to pay attention to missing person campaigns and that we shouldn't just disregard them when we see them pop up on our Facebook feeds or on websites. With hope, this young girl will be able to recover from what was likely a terrifying week.
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Image via MissingCases/Twitter