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Teen Rescued, Armed Murderer Arrested After Tip by Driver

March 25, 2003|Gregg Jones | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — After a tip from a Frito-Lay delivery driver in a remote area of Northern California, a missing Michigan teenager was found safe Monday and her heavily armed companion was arrested, authorities said.

Fourteen-year-old Lindsey Ryan and convicted murderer Terry Drake, 56, were taken into custody without incident by the California Highway Patrol near the town of Standish, about 90 miles northwest of Reno.

Drake, who served 16 years in prison for a 1977 Indiana murder, was being held on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, said Michael Mason, special agent in charge of the FBI's Sacramento office.

Ryan left her home in Jones, Mich., on March 1 to meet Drake, with whom she had been corresponding over the Internet. The two, featured on the "America's Most Wanted" television program earlier this month, had been spotted several times in Arizona, Nevada and California, traveling in a 1995 Dodge Dakota pickup trick.

The break in the case came mid-morning Monday when Ian Spencer, a Frito-Lay driver, phoned the California Highway Patrol to report a crudely painted Dodge Dakota pickup truck parked outside the Wayside Inn in Standish.

CHP Officer Greg Transue approached the truck outside Standish.

"Mr. Drake told me that I had the guy I was looking for," Transue said. "Everything went very well. There were no complications."

Authorities recovered two rifles and one handgun from the truck and other guns from a campsite the two had been using, he said.

Ryan, whose blond hair had been dyed black, seemed happy when authorities found her, Transue said. She was eating pizza at the CHP office in Susanville when he last saw her, the officer said.

"She seemed very poised, calm, matter of fact," he said. "She looks to be in very good health."

During a Capitol news conference that included Ryan's parents and the Frito-Lay driver by telephone, Spencer said he had been on the lookout for several days because of reports from the statewide "Amber Alert" system for abducted children.

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