Driver faces new charges

Additional charges accusing a Gardnerville man of having sex with the older of two teenagers he drove to Manteca, Calif., were announced on Friday.

Bail for Jeffrey Alan Palmer, 40, has been increased to $250,000, according to San Joaquin District Attorney's Office spokesman Robert Himelblau. Palmer appeared in court on Friday morning.

Palmer is facing nine charges in connection with his Aug. 18 arrest, according to Himelblau.

He is facing two counts of statutory rape, two counts of lewdness with a minor, two counts of child abduction and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Himelblau said the statutory rape charges were the most serious because the difference in Palmer's age and the 15-year-old victim.

A Sept. 26 hearing has been set in the case. Himelblau said no preliminary or evidentiary hearing has been set yet.

San Joaquin authorities are working with Douglas County detectives in the case.

The two Gardnerville Ranchos girls were reported missing from their home by their mother on Aug. 17. They were located on Aug. 18 in a Manteca motel room along with Palmer and a 16-year-old boy.

Palmer was taken into custody, but the girls and the boy escaped from the safe house where they were being kept before their parents could arrive.

That led to a four-day search with leads as far away as Las Vegas, before the teens were picked up on Friday in Winnemucca by members of their church and brought home.

Both girls are being held in detention in Stateline pending a Sept. 20 hearing.


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