An Amber Alert issued for a missing 13-year-old girl from Lenexa was canceled Friday evening after she was found safe in Minnesota.
The teen had been last seen at a Greyhound Bus station with an adult male. Police named Dechon White, 22, as a suspect. He was taken into custody in Minnesota.
The girl’s father said White had posed as a 16-year-old online back in late 2017 when he started communicating with her.
“She was 12 (then). He was supposed to be 16,” said the father. “I didn’t approve of it. She told us she quit talking to him.”
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Police said the girl was last seen on video at 7:50 p.m. Wednesday at the Greyhound Bus station in Kansas City. They believe she and White took a bus to the greater Minneapolis area later that evening, or that the two remained in Kansas City.
“The Lenexa Police Department believes that (the girl) … had been coerced by the (22)-year-old suspect,” the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
Around 2 p.m. Wednesday, the girl told a parent that she was walking to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park. She was seen leaving her residence near 77th Street and Quivira Road with the suspect.
The family reported her as missing at around 12:15 a.m. Thursday. Danny Chavez, a spokesman for Lenexa police, did not respond to a question about the delay between the family’s contacting police and the Amber Alert.
On Facebook, the Lenexa Police Department responded to a question about the delay by saying it “took a while to gather all the facts of the case. Was not immediately reported to the police.”
Lenexa police shared information about the case with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation about 2 p.m. Friday.
The father said police obtained footage of the girl boarding a bus with White on Friday morning. He was notified by police about 11 a.m. that an Amber Alert would be issued.
Successful Amber Alerts require law enforcement to confirm an abduction prior to issuing the alert, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
An Amber Alert was also issued in the Minneapolis area, according to media reports there.
The girl’s father said she used a different name to purchase the bus ticket. Her cellphone has been turned off for two days.
The girl turned 13 on Thursday.
Before his daughter was found, her father implored her to return home, and the suspect to turn himself in. The suspect blocked the girl’s family from his social media accounts.