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Wisconsin runaway found near Benson

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WILSON’S MILLS — A broken home in Wisconsin prompted a 14-year-old girl to travel almost 1,000 miles to Benson, Wilson’s Mills Police Chief A.Z. Williams told the Johnstonian News on Thursday.

The teen ran away from her home in Sun Prairie, Wis., in August but was found safe Thursday in a home near Benson, said Williams, whose office became involved because the girl’s family thought she might be in Wilson’s Mills.

“She has a friend in Johnston County, and they had stayed at each other’s homes,” Williams said. “Her mother did not approve of her being here, and Wisconsin authorities put out a missing person’s notice.”

Williams said several people knew the girl was staying in the home near Benson and covered for her. It’s possible those people will face charges, the chief said.

“A few fliers were posted in the community,” he said. “When asked by police, people would deny seeing her.”

Williams said one of his officers, Sgt. T.L. Winstead, followed up on tips that helped lead to the girl’s location. Probation officers with N.C. Community Corrections found the teen in the Benson-area home and confirmed her identity.

The girl was taken into custody and her family notified, Williams said.

“Many people had information which would have solved the case months ago,” Williams said. “But they felt they were doing the right thing by protecting her.”

Williams thanked the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office for its help in the case.