A missing Center Point teenager was found uninjured yesterday by the Clay County Sheriff's Department. Joanna Blackburn, a 16-year-old Northview student, was reported missing by her parents Nov. 23.
According to Clay County Detective Mike Heaton a tip was recieved from a Northview High School student Monday, who said he saw the girl at the Kroger's parking lot Sunday night at about 8:30 p.m. with Cody Eder.
The student reported the information to Northview principal Ken Wallace, who passed it on to Detective Doug Smiley, who was also working on the case.
Heaton and Smiley went to the home of Eder's grandparents, which was his last known address. Eder's mother happened to be visiting at the time. She took the detectives to CR 500 W, where Eder was living with a Summer Hoffman.
After identifying themselves, Heaton and Smiley questioned Eder about Blackburn's whereabouts.
"He first denied knowing where she was," Heaton said. "After confronting him with the information we had, he came forward and told us she was there at the residence. He said she was in the back bedroom. When we went back, we found her hiding in the closet."
Blackburn was taken into custody and transported to the Clay County jail. She was later released into the custody of her parents, who are going to get her into counseling. The prosecutor's office will determine later if charges are to be filed against Blackburn
Eder was arrested for contributing to the deliquency a minor. The A misdemeanor charge has a penalty of up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. Eder remained in jail as of 8 a.m. today.
Detective Heaton said that Blackburn had left a note at home saying that she had personal problems. Apparently the note said Blackburn felt it was best for her and her family if she was gone.
After interviewing Eder, he indicated to Detective Heaton that Blackburn had called him requesting his help. He picked her up and took her to the residence where he was staying.
Thomas Blackburn, Joanna Blackburn's father, said drugs were involved.
"A drug dealer got ripped off while Joanna was there," Tom Blackburn said. "The friends left so the drug dealer came after her. Joanna ran away to protect herself from the drug dealer's threats. There's a serious drug problem in this town that needs to be addressed."