A missing Texas teenager was recently located in Perry County, Mississippi and a 27-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with sexual battery and kidnapping.
Thomas Patton, a Perry County resident, is suspected to have met the 13-year-old in Houston while there on work related matters in February. He then kidnapped the girl and transported her across state lines back to his residence in New Augusta, Mississippi.
The girl was eventually located while walking along Perry Central High School on Highway 98 earlier this week.
The couple who noticed the girl and called police ‘suspected something was off’. They were praised by Sheriff Mitch Nobles for their observant and heroic actions. Nobles further warned the community, particularly young females, to be cautious and not put themselves in compromising situations by getting into cars with strangers. “It was a precarious situation, especially considering the girl was alone and so far away from home,” he cautioned.
While the incident has been described by the sheriff’s office as being “similar in nature” to a trafficking incident, they are unable to charge Patton in this regard as there is no documented evidence of an exchange of “money or other materials” between the suspect and anyone.
The Perry County Sheriff’s Office is actively continuing investigation into the matter and is actively reaching out to the girl’s family to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the missing teen. They also urge anyone with information about the incident to come forward and contact them.