Law enforcement explains what charges man who harbored Topeka runaway could face

Local News
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka police are thankful they found a local 14-year-old girl and the man she ran off with, 47-year-old Michael Fitzgerald.

“With the limited information that we had it was quite a task to get these two located,” said Topeka Police Lieutenant Andrew Beightel. 

The girl’s mother tells KSNT News that her daughter snuck out of their Topeka home Tuesday night. She found love letters the man had written her.

KSNT News learned their relationship went on for months. The man was a volunteer at the girl’s school. The two were recently in a musical together at Topeka Civic Theater.

Now Michael Fitzgerald faces charges in Colorado and will also face charges in Shawnee County.

He could also face federal charges for taking the minor across state lines.

Prosecutors have yet to file charges, but District Attorney Mike Kagay said it’s important for all families to be aware of suspicious people in their lives.

“Perpetrators can be someone who is known to the child, that has the trust of the child and the trust of the family,” said District Attorney Michael Kagay. 

The girl is talking to police about her trip to Colorado before she’s reunited with her family.


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