Mom to missing girls: ‘Please call’
August 20, 2008
The mother of two runaway girls has a message for her teenage daughters: ‘We love you, call and let us know you’re OK. You are not in trouble.”
Since Monday, Amy Meeks has been in Manteca, Calif., blanketing truck stops and other locations with fliers seeking information about her daughters Emily, 13, and Charlotte, 15.
The girls left their Gardnerville Ranchos home late Saturday night with a 40-year-old man authorities identified as Jeffery Alan Palmer of Gardnerville who reportedly drove them to Manteca, Calif., to meet a 16-year-old friend of Emily’s.
Meeks reported the runaway girls, and Palmer was arrested early Monday at a motel in Manteca with the girls and the teenage boy. Authorities said the room was littered with alcohol containers.
Palmer was arrested on several charges including child abduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is in jail in San Joaquin County on $103,000 bail.
The boy was returned to his parents and the Meeks sisters were taken to a safe house to await their parents. The girls ran away again before their parents arrived, and were last seen with the boy trying to get rides at the Flying J Truck stop in Ripon, Calif.
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Authorities believed they may have been on their way to Oregon or Canada.
“I would just like to tell them that even if they’re afraid to come home, at least contact somebody and let them know they’re OK,” Amy Meeks said in an interview from California. “We definitely want them to know they’re not in trouble. We love them.”
Meeks is staying in California with the missing boy’s family while they search for their children.
Meeks said her daughter Emily met the boy a month ago when she was visiting a childhood friend in Manteca.
She said one of the girls had been exchanging text messages with Palmer for several weeks. Meeks also said when she hit the redial button on her house phone, it dialed Palmer’s number.
She told Douglas County authorities she last saw her daughters on Saturday night just before midnight. She thinks they left through a bedroom window and met up with Palmer after she went to sleep.
She said the girls and Palmer arrived in Manteca on Sunday. By this time, authorities were looking for the fugitives.
“The motel people called the cops in Manteca. It was obvious something weird was happening,” Meeks said.
By the time Meeks arrived in Stockton to pick up her girls, they were gone again.
She doesn’t believe the teenagers have much money and thinks they are trying to get rides at truck stops.
“The truckers we talked to said they never give rides to teenagers, especially girls and thought they might be getting rides with regular drivers,” Meeks said.
She asked her daughters to call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY to leave their parents a message.
Palmer was convicted in 2006 of aggravated stalking, a gross misdemeanor. He received a suspended 180-day jail sentence and was placed under the supervision of the adult probation department for one year. He completed the probation.
Anyone with information about Emily and Charlotte Meeks is asked to contact their mother, Amy Meeks, at 1-775-560-4055, or the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, 782-9935.