Missing teen found at boyfriend's house Runaway girl, 16, had hidden since Jan. 1

February 23, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

After searching for more than a month, Annapolis police found a 16-year-old runaway last week hiding in the home of her boyfriend's family in Edgewater.

"Even the parents didn't know she was there," said Detective Pete Medley.

Natalie Anne Wilharm left her bedroom hiding spot "only when everyone was gone, except for the boyfriend," Medley said.

No charges were being filed, he said.

The teen-ager disappeared New Year's Day from her mother's house in the 1400 block of Cory Lane in Annapolis, leaving a goodbye letter to her parents "to let you know I'm safe." She was visiting her mother during winter vacation and did not want to return home to her father and stepmother in New Jersey, Medley said.

"She was miserable up in New Jersey. I'm not sure if it was mainly because she missed me or if she if missed her friends or she didn't like living with her father and stepmother," said Jason Holt, 17, who harbored her at his family's home in the 100 block of Claiborne Road.

Neither Natalie nor her parents could be reached Friday.

Police had long suspected that Natalie, who left her mother's house without money or clothes, was hiding in the area with friends. About three weeks ago, she left a message on her mother's answering machine saying that she was "alive, well and safe," but Medley said he wanted to be sure the call was not coerced.

Police found Natalie after speaking with youths in the area, some of whom had seen her recently. They questioned the Holts about Natalie and sought permission to search a locked room Wednesday evening, Medley said.

"There was noise inside the older brother's bedroom. The next thing was, she opened up the door," Medley said.

He said Natalie will live with her mother.

Medley also closed the book on an earlier disappearance. Natalie ran away May 16 and was found by her parents a short time later in Ocean City with friends.

"I gave her my business card," Medley said. "I said the next time you want to run away, please call me first."

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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