B y Derek Liebig
The 15-year-old girl who ran away from home last Monday, triggering an extensive all-day search, was apparently aided by a convicted level 2 sex offender and his girlfriend.
Joshua E. Kearsley, 25, and Cristy Woodard, 20, both of Schroon, were charged with a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child after they reportedly assisted the 15-year-old in running away from home.
Police said they believe that Kearsley and Woodard picked up the girl from her home in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning and brought her to their home in Schroon.
Whitehall Police Chief Matt Dickinson said they believe they met over the internet, via facebook.
The girl remained at their home until State Police found and retrieved her Monday evening.
The Whitehall Police Department returned her to her home late Monday night.
Kearsley served three years in state prison in connection with a second-degree rape charge stemming from a 2007 incident in which he had sex with a 14 year old girl.
The age of consent in New York State is 17.
There is no indication that either Kearsley or Woodard had any sexual contact with the girl, but the investigation is ongoing.
The girl was reported missing at 6:31 a.m. on Monday, June 6.
During its investigation, the Whitehall Police Department utilized the “A Child is Missing” alert system which automatically notifies residents over the telephone of information that may be relevant during the search.
The department had just registered with the program last month.
Dickinson he made approximately 70 phone calls during the search and police were eventually able to use phone records to determine where the girl was.
Kearsley and Woodard were both ordered to appear in Village Court at a later date.