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Muskogee 17-Year-Old Admits To Hiding, Having Sex With Preteen Runaway

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MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A 17-year-old Muskogee boy is expected to be charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree rape after admitting a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old runaway girl, Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said.

The girl, who lives with her grandparents north of Warner, disappeared last week. Pearson said the investigation into her whereabouts took authorities all across northeastern Oklahoma and into Texas.

She was located on Monday at 2:30 a.m., riding bicycles with other kids about 5 miles from the boy's home in Muskogee.

The boy lives with his mother and stepfather, according to Muskogee County Deputy Roy Banks.

"We have witnesses who have confirmed that she was at their house all week," Banks said.

Banks said investigators are working with the district attorney to find out if charges can be brought against the adults in the home.

"[The adults] claim [the girl] told them she was 15," Banks said. "But that doesn't matter, 15 is still a kid. They still should have inquired where she lived, why she was there, and tried to find people who were worried about her."

Pearson said Facebook clues led investigators to the girl.

"She had deactivated her Facebook account, and once we were able to get that turned back on, we were led to the address where she was found," Pearson said. "Getting into the Facebook account was key."

On Monday, authorities interviewed and arrested the boy, who said he had a friend drive him to Warner to pick up the girl and take her to Muskogee.

"He admitted to having sex with her," Pearson said. "They're juveniles, yes, but a 12-year-old, almost 13-year-old, is a big difference from a 17-year-old."

The boy is also accused of intimidating a state's witness, after investigators said he made threatening comments to the girl's grandparents over Facebook.

The girl was discovered missing after her grandparents thought they were allowing her to sleep in. They said she was in her bed on Monday, May 21, but when they went in to wake her at noon the next day, they found a teddy bear under the covers instead of their granddaughter.

Banks said investigators looked at the girl's cell phone records, and she placed a call at 2 a.m. on May 22. That's when he believes she actually left her grandparents' home.

Pearson said it was a high-priority case for his deputies over Memorial Day weekend.

"For the boy to not only hide out a young 12-year-old runaway, but to do what he did…" Pearson said. "We talked to her friends, followed every lead we could. These days with child-stealing and such, when someone that young goes missing, it was an all-out effort to get her safe."

The girl is currently in custody of the Department of Human Services.

Deputies are still investigating why the girl left home and are looking into communication she had with the boy leading up to leaving. Banks added the girl had been in trouble lately. She had just moved from Porum to Warner with her grandparents and had been kicked out of school in Warner, he said. 

Pearson said the boy is expected to be charged as a youthful offender. At a hearing Wednesday, bond was set at $20,000. He was still in jail Wednesday evening and awaits a Thursday court date.

A message seeking comment was left with the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office.

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