PELHAM, N.H. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A missing California girl turned herself in to officials in Salem, Mass. after seeing her photo on the cover of a local newspaper.
Leandra Clarke visited Town Hall, which she thought was the police station, to let officials know she was safe, reports the Eagle-Tribune.
Clarke turned herself in one day after her grandmother was arrested on a warrant out of California alleging she was involved in transporting the 16-year-old across the country.
Kathleen Willet, 59, of South Shore Drive in Pelham, was taken into custody at about 8:16 p.m. Tuesday. She was arrested on warrant as a fugitive from justice out of Irvine, Calif. for felony child abduction.
Authorities in California and New Hampshire worked for two months to locate Leandra Clarke, also known as Leandra Ascolillo. Leandra was living in California with her mother and step father when she was last seen on June 26.
Leandra and Willet allegedly left California together in early July and traveled cross-county to New Hampshire. During their cross-county trip, authorities in Nebraska stopped the pair, but Leandra was not yet entered as a missing person and Willet had not yet been established as a suspect.
Once back in New Hampshire, authorities allege Leandra lived with Willet; however, police searched Willet's home and did not find the teen.
Detectives allegedly gathered evidence from Willet's home indicating Leandra had stayed there at some point. Authorities believed she hid with other family members in the Tewksbury, Billerica, or North Reading, Mass. areas.
Authorities said Willet had not been cooperative and had lied to investigators. She was arraigned Wednesday morning, and bail was set at $40,000.
Willet is currently being held at a jail in Manchester, and her next court date is Oct. 3. She will be transported to California at the conclusion of her court proceedings in New Hampshire.
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