Missing Hamilton girl found safe in Missouri

10:43 AM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Missing Hamilton girl found safe in Missouri

  • Rachel Marie Baker
  • Joseph Young Arpin

HAMILTON, Mich. (WZZM) -- She's hundreds of miles from home, but now safe. Authorities have found a missing 13-year-old girl from Allegan County after investigators say she ran away with a strange man she met online.

Late Tuesday afternoon, detectives found Rachel Baker with Joseph Arpin, 34, at a convenience store in Crestwood, Missouri, outside St. Louis. 

One look around her room, with Pokémon blankets and stuffed animals, it's clear she's only a child.

"She's only 13 she shouldn't be out there like this," says Nancy Baker, Rachel's mother.

Nancy believes her daughter escaped after removing the window screen in her room. Rachel left a letter before she disappeared.

"Mom you don't understand anything, give him a chance-- meet him," the letter read. "I don't want to meet him, I want him gone," said Nancy.

Deputies say Rachel met Joseph Arpin of California online, chatting on social media sites like Facebook.

"They developed a relationship that ultimately resulted in him coming to Michigan," says Captain Frank Baker of the Allegan County Sheriff's Department.

Nancy said the man from out of state had been in the area for two weeks before Rachel's disappearance. She says he claimed he was helping her with emotional problems like depression.

"She's on Prozac because she cuts herself and she's suicidal," explained Nancy. "He's just sweet talking her so she'll go with him."

Shortly after WZZM 13 interviewed Nancy Baker, Rachel was found safe in Missouri with her alleged kidnapper.

"I just want her home we love her," said Nancy.

"Be as involved as you can with your kids, know what they're doing as best you can," said Captain Baker.

Rachel's mother understands that message now and hopes her daughter will do less internet chatting. "She doesn't have to go on these (online sites) and talk to total strangers."

Investigators say they don't believe Arpin had any criminal history. Rachel's mother told WZZM 13 she hopes to prosecute him to the full extent of the law. He will be brought back to Allegan County for formal charges.

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