Two parish runaways back home


BOGALUSA, LA. — Two 15- year-old girls who were reported missing over
the Fourth of July weekend have been returned to Bogalusa, and the 25
year-old man the girls’ mothers said they ran away with is in jail in
relation to their disappearance.

Melanie Hunt and Brandie Romero have been returned to their homes. And
Robert Richard of Lafayette is in the Washington Parish jail facing
numerous charges including contributing to the delinquency of juveniles,
according to a sheriff’s office report.

The three were found in a Harahan Wal-Mart early Monday morning. They
were detained at the store by security guards who had been alerted by
WPSO Juvenile Detective Rochelle Anderson that they may be in the area.

WPSO detectives reportedly got the lead on the location when Hunt and
Romero began to telephone relatives. The girls did not reveal where they
were, but after family members contacted Anderson, she traced the calls
to Jefferson Parish.

Anderson contacted police, hotel operators and businesses in the
suspected area. And while she was talking to Wal-Mart security at
approximately 1:30 a.m. she was told that the missing persons were in the

The three were detained until Jefferson Parish authorities could get to
the scene, and the juveniles were held until Anderson arrived to bring
them back to Bogalusa.

Richard was arrested on outstanding warrants from Washington Parish. He
was returned to the parish jail on Tuesday.

The investigation is continuing and several additional charges are
expected to be filed against Richard after all the interviews are
conducted, said Chief Criminal Deputy Dan Foil.

Sheriff Aubrey Jones commended his juvenile and felony detectives for
their work in the case. He especially praised Anderson for working
“tirelessly with the families in attempting to locate the missing girls.”

Jones said his office is pleased that the girls appear to have been
returned home unharmed. And he expressed his appreciation to all who
cooperated with the investigation including The Daily News, Wal-Mart
security, South Central Bell security, the National Center for Missing
Children and various law enforcement officers from Orleans, Jefferson and
Washington parishes.

Copyright © 2004 Bogalusa Daily News

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