Missing girl found safe; authorities arrest man

Police late Monday found a missing 14-year-old girl who apparently ran away Saturday from Medford's Bear Creek Skate Park and police arrested a Central Point man accused of helping her hide and giving her marijuana, police said.

Police following up on associates of Starla Carrero led them to a house in the 100 block of Wells Road, and when officers knocked on the door, the occupants freely said Carrero was there, police say. There also were signs of marijuana use at the home, police said.

"It looks like a straight-up runaway (situation)," said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. "But it's too early to tell about the circumstances until we interview her."

One of the others at the house was Kody Liston, who police earlier identified as one of the two boys seen talking to Carrero at the skate park before she disappeared, Budreau said.

Investigators earlier that day interviewed Liston, who admitted to talking with Carrero at the skate park but disavowed any knowledge of Carrero's whereabouts or circumstances behind her disappearance, Budreau said.

Liston, 19, no known address, was taken into custody on charges of furnishing marijuana to a minor and for custodial interference because he knew the underaged Carrero was reported missing when police found him with the teen, Budreau said.

A search of Oregon criminal records show no adult convictions for Liston.

No other details were immediately available.

Calls late Monday to the cell phone of her mother, 37-year-old Andrea Carrero, went straight to voicemail.

The missing girls's safe discovery came hours after the FBI and search and rescue teams were called in while Andrea Carrero and friends searched the area and tried to get the word out for any information about Starla, who left her purse and skateboard behind.

"I feel like I'm going to throw up and pass out," Carrero said late Monday, 48 hours after her daughter disappeared and about two hours before she was found. "Physically, I don't feel well."

Carrero's 17-year-son, Nick, and his 18-year-old friend were interviewed by Medford police Monday because they saw Starla about a half-hour before she disappeared. The Jackson County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit spread out through Bear Creek Park and along the creek looking for any clues.

When the case began, Medford police considered Starla a runaway but as time forged on, the more concerned and suspicious investigators became.

Budreau said the park was very busy Saturday afternoon.

"For somebody to do an abduction without alarming others is hard to believe, but it is still possible," he said.

Andrea Carrero, a mother of five who holds down three minimum-wage jobs and is a full-time student at Rogue Community College, said she has stopped at bus stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations and schools passing out fliers and asking for any information about her daughter.

Carrero said a nationwide flier was being prepared Monday by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Her sister, Heather DeLloyd, was also flying out from Washington, D.C., to help with the search effort.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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