Missing girl found.
"It had been a year and hopes that a missing teenager from Connecticut would ever be found had inevitably faded. But the police never gave up and on Wednesday their labours reaped their reward: they uncovered the girl, alive and apparently unharmed, inside the home of a dog trainer.
The circumstances, however, of the teen's recovery by the police were disturbing. When the police entered the home of Adam Gault, 41, on Wednesday, with search warrants to pursue the case, they stumbled upon a secret door behind a dresser. On the other side lay a miniature room measuring barely 3ft high and about 5ftdeep.
The girl was found crouched inside. She is 15 years old but other personal details about her are not being released because an investigation into possible sexual abuse is ongoing. Last night, she was in protective custody as police sought to find out the details of what happened during her year-long absence.
Mr Gault, whose lives in Bloomfield, just 10 miles from Hartford, the state capital, was due to appear in court yesterday on charges that included unlawful restraint and reckless endangerment. Also due to appear on similar charges were two women who lived with him, identified as Ann Murphy, 40, and Kimberly Cray, 26.
Many questions remained unanswered, however, about the weeks and months that the girl apparently remained with Mr Gault, including the circumstances of her disappearance from her family in June last year. Police said she had had a history of running away from home and that she and Mr Gault had apparently been in contact before she vanished.
Officials are not ruling out the possibility that the girl had gone to Mr Gault voluntarily, at least in the beginning. It appears that the dog trainer had been an acquaintance of her parents and may have had some business dealings with them.
"There was an inordinate amount of contact via cellular phone and then, during follow ups, there were a lot of other circumstances that led us to believe there was an inappropriate relationship," Capt Jeffrey Blatter of the Bloomfield police department said.
During the 12 months away, it also appeared that the girl was using a different name to avoid alerting police suspicions. "She was compelled to use a new name, a new identity," Capt Blatter said. "She did assume a name to suggest that she was part of the family."
There may have been trips out of Bloomfield and possibly into other states.
Police are also investigating the possibility that Mr Gault had entered abusive relationships with other under-age girls in the area. "The case is definitely on going," Capt Blatter told reporters yesterday.
He indicated that police may have already identified other young girls who had already had contacts with Mr Gault but have not to pursued legal action because of feelings of embarrassment or humiliation.
As for the girl and her family, it was not clear when, or even if, their reunion would come. Police conceded that it might "not be in the child's interests" to return her to her parents."
Strange, you would have to ask what sort of home this kid comes from that she would rather change her name and live with complete strangers.