The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 29, 2013

Pair charged in case of missing girl

By Budd McLaughlin

— A missing child/runaway case involving a 13-year-old Eva girl over the weekend led to the arrest of two people Monday in Athens, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

Aaron Jene Wilker, 20, of Decatur, and Emily Alyne Waldrop, 20, of Athens, were charged with interference with custody, a felony. They are being held on $15,000 bond each, Sheriff Ana Franklin said in a news release Tuesday.

The parents of Kaitlin Dempsey reported her missing Sunday evening from their Eva home, officials said at the time. An official missing person/runaway report was filed, she was entered into the state and federal databases and an investigator was notified and news media were provided with her name and picture, Franklin said in Tuesday’s release.

On Monday afternoon, according to Franklin, Dempsey, Wilker and Waldrop went to an Athens store to “pretend that the adults had just ‘found her’ and recognized who she was from the news.” The teen told store employees she was the “… missing Eva girl.”

Morgan County investigators asked Athens police to detain all three for questioning. After interviews, investigators said the teen got Wilker and Waldrop to help her run away from home. She met them at the end of her driveway where they picked her up in a vehicle, according to Franklin.

Meanwhile, the Morgan County Rescue Squad, assisted by members of the Oden Ridge, Flint and Florette fire departments and HEMSI search dog teams scoured the area Sunday night and early Monday, according to reports.

Franklin said that, after picking her up at the driveway, they went to a movie, then to a store to buy hair dye. At a motel, they cut and dyed the girls hair to change her appearance. 

However, Franklin’s statement said, when they turned on the television in the motel room, they saw the news story about Dempsey being missing, became frightened and drove to Tennessee. Later Sunday, they returned to Alabama and spent the night at a truck stop, the statement said.

On Monday afternoon, the teen decided she wanted to go home and they headed for Athens. 

Franklin said any pending actions against the teen are not being released because of her age.