TV Coverage Helped Neighbor Recognize Missing Girl
Jan 28, 2007 2:46 pm US/Eastern
(WJZ/AP) Baltimore, MD A 14-year-old minister's daughter from suburban Harford County who had been missing for five days was recovered late Friday night from a home in west Baltimore, ending a grueling ordeal that began when she took a taxi from her home to a movie theater last Sunday.
Criminal charges were pending against several occupants of the home where Elizabeth Carter was found, Maryland State Police said. "We have our daughter alive, praise God," said Martha Carter, Elizabeth's mother. "It is an absolute miracle."
State and city police raided the home on North Longwood Street after getting a 911 call from a nearby resident who saw Elizabeth's picture on television, said First Sgt. Russell Newell, a Maryland State Police spokesman.
Elizabeth was taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment. She was interviewed by detectives and released to her parents.
Officers took more than 10 occupants of the home into custody.
State and city police did not immediately release information about the arrests or the charges the occupants were facing Saturday. "She was a victim of crime," Martha Carter said. "She said she's barely eaten anything for six days. She's lost 22 pounds."
Elizabeth was robbed of her possessions and at one point was forced to sleep outside, her mother said.
The girl took a taxi Sunday afternoon from her Fallston home to a movie theater in White Marsh, expecting to meet friends. When her friends didn't show, she ended up going to a movie with a couple of strangers and, "in her words, that's where it all went downhill," Martha Carter said.
According to police, Elizabeth went with two Baltimore men to a motel near U.S. 40 in northeast Baltimore, a highway dotted with cheap motels, liquor stores and adult entertainment establishments.
She left the motel Monday evening, and investigators were unable to trace her whereabouts after that. "She was in the company of numerous adults and other individuals during her stay at various locations throughout the Baltimore area," Newell said.
Martha Carter is the pastor of a the Cellar Community House Church, a small, nondenominational Christian congregation.
Elizabeth is home-schooled and has few friends or acquaintances outside her family and her church, and her naivity got her into trouble, her mother said. "She is going to come out of this with a very strong message for the youth of this generation," Carter said.
That message: Listen to your parents. "Just trust them that they've got you covered, they're looking out for you," Carter