SMYTH COUNTY, VA (WJHL) – The Amber Alert for a missing Surgoinsville teen has been cancelled.
The 16-day search for missing teen 14-year-old Hayleigh Wilson and 41-year-old Benjamin Shook ended with a 911 call.
The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office says a citizen called 911 with a tip around 5:00 a.m. while the teen and Shook were at her home seeking refuge in the Atkins area of Smyth County.
The woman said Hayleigh and Shook knocked on here door and asked for help. They were inside here home taking showers when the woman called dispatch.
Shortly afterwards, Smyth County officers arrived at the home to rescue Wilson and arrest Shook – taking both into custody. Both were taken to the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office in Marion, Virginia. Shook, a convicted sex offender, was interviewed by investigators to find out what has happened over the past two weeks.
The U.S. Marshal says Wilson is safe and appears to be unharmed. Officials say doctors examined Wilson as a precaution. She is now with family, according to authorities.
“We are grateful the public paid attention to our wanted posters and notifications. Thanks to a vigilant eyewitness who provided the crucial call to the Smyth County Sheriff’s office, their quick response led to the immediate arrest of Shook. Now, Hayleigh is safe and her alleged captor is behind bars,” said U.S. Marshals Director Stacia Hylton.“
Shook was taken to the Southwest Regional Jail in Washington County for booking and charges. Afterwards, the US marshals took Shook back to federal courthouse in Greeneville, TN for his first court appearance.
The initial Amber Alert for Wilson was sent out on June 23rd. Witnesses reported seeing the Wilson and Shook in Sugar Grove, VA. on June 24 and there was an unconfirmed sighting of the pair in Rural Retreat, VA on or around July 1st.
According to the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, the pair were living mostly outside and traveled on average about a mile a day. They were traveling at dark close to the wood line of Cedar Springs Road as a guide. Detectives say the pair survived by breaking into homes along their route and “surviving off the land”.
Shook faces the federal charge of unregistered sex offender in TN and GA. Authorities say it is likely he will face charges based on flight, burglary, breaking and entering, and other things related to his time with Wilson.
Smyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Major Chip Shular says the information detectives obtained from the interview with Shook has led them to potential crime scenes. Those scenes will be forensically processed for evidence and submitted to state lab for further examination.
Some of those crime scenes are the homes the pair broke into to get food.
No other details about this case has been released to the public at this time.
News Channel 11 will continue to track this story. We’ll post the latest details as soon as it becomes available.Copyright WJHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.