Boyfriend Drops Off Runaway

By Brianne E. Boykin
The News Herald
Thursday, May 5, 2005

Editor’s Note: It is The News Herald’s policy not to name a victim of
sexual assault.

MORGANTON – A 13-year-old girl walked into the Sheriff’s Office on
Wednesday morning. Detectives had been searching for the girl since
Saturday.

The girl told detectives she had been dropped off at the State Employee’s
Credit Union on Enola Road by Michael Brandon Baker. She walked down
Government Road to the Sheriff’s Office.

“At this point (Baker) is considered a fugitive,” Detective Crystal Watts
said.

Baker, 26, now faces felony and misdemeanor charges in Burke County after
the girl ran away with him on Saturday.

Because of the girl’s prearranged plans to run away with Baker,
discovered in love letters between the two, Sheriff John T. McDevitt said
she was ineligible for an Amber Alert.

According to Watts, Baker and the girl went to a gas station and saw the
story about them in Wednesday’s News Herald. At that point, the two
decided the girl should be turned over to authorities.

Baker was facing a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency
of a minor when the girl initially left with him. After researching new
guidelines, Watts said they were able to charge him with felony
kidnapping.

Baker also faces a felony charge in Caldwell County relating to the same
girl.

Watts said detectives are pleading with Baker’s friends to have him turn
himself in.

“The girl believes he will turn himself in eventually, she just doesn’t
know when,” Watts said.

The girl has been returned to the custody of her grandmother and the
Burke County Department of Social Services is continuing to monitor the
case.

Watts said that because Baker is considered a fugitive, anyone assisting
him will face criminal charges.

“Assisting him includes giving him a vehicle or letting him stay with
them,” Watts said. “Anyone who helps Brandon can be charged with aiding
and abetting, and accessory before or after the fact.”

The girl’s mother is relieved her daughter is home.

“I am just so grateful the story was in The News Herald,” the mother
said. “Had it not been printed my daughter still wouldn’t be home.”

© 2005, Media General Inc. All Rights Reserved

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