Tenn. teen in nationwide Amber Alert now facing charges

Hayleigh Wilson

SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. (WNCN) – A 14-year-old Tennessee girl at the center of a nationwide Amber Alert is now facing charges.

An alert was issued for Hayleigh Wilson of Surgoinsville two weeks ago. Police said she was with convicted sex offender Benjamin Shook, 41.

Surgoinsville Police Chief James Hammonds told WJHL that Wilson and Shook met on an online app called ‘KIK’. Hammonds said Wilson told him she did not know Shook was a convicted sex offender.

WJHL reported that immediately after Wilson left her home, police filed a petition against Wilson as a runaway. Hammonds said this was filed because she left home without permission.

Police told WJHL that Wilson said she went with Shook because ‘she was bored’.

Sixteen days later, the two were found in Atkins, Virginia. WJHL reported that Wilson told police she and Shook had been living off the land and she was tired and ready to go home.

Hours after Wilson was found by U.S. Marshals, an additional petition was filed against her. Hammonds said Wilson faces a juvenile charge of theft over $1,000. Police said when the pair left Surgoinsville, they took her step-dad’s truck, which was later dumped in Smyth County, Virginia.

Hammonds told WJHL, “We are glad to have her back, but she has to take responsibility for her actions.”

Wilson will be in Hawkins County Juvenile Court Wednesday morning.

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