Missing girl found, returned to family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007


A girl reported missing by her parents last week has been located and returned to Lawrence County.

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Sisler said 17-year-old Jessica Simpkins was brought back from Mansfield over the weekend. Anonymous tips made to the sheriff’s office directed authorities to that area, where Simpkins was staying with the Sue Smith family.

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Richland County sheriff’s deputies took the girl to their office and kept her until Simpkins’ parents, James and Tonia Simpkins and the pastor of a local church went to get her.

No charges have been filed against Smith or David Crank, the man reported to have been the girl’s boyfriend.

“She did go (to Mansfield) on her own, she wasn’t forced to go,” Sisler said.

The girl is not facing charges either, Sisler said.

The Simpkins family had been staying with the Smith family, including Crank, at 38 Private Drive 9179 in Kitts Hill when James Simpkins was hospitalized. While Tonia Simpkins was with her husband, they left their daughter in the care of the Smith family.

James Simpkins told authorities when he was released from the hospital, they tried to contact the Smiths and Crank. When they were unable to reach them by telephone, went to the residence in Kitts Hill and found it empty.