Arrest Made In Missing Girl Case, Suspect Found Near Whitewater

Mesa County police have made an arrest in connection with a teenage girl who had been missing since last weekend. A citizen's tip led to the arrest of 36-year-old Claude Elmer Wednesday night. Officials say Lielani Garringer, 15, left with the older man on Saturday without her parent's consent and hadn't been seen since.

Elmer was arrested around 7:00 PM on Highway 141 and Divide Road south of Whitewater. Authorities pulled over the New Mexico man about 15 mile south of Whitewater.

Members of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office took Elmer to the Mesa County Jail, where he was questioned about the whereabouts of the two for the past few days. Garringer showed up at her parent's home following Elmer's arrest. She was taken to the Mesa County Jail for questioning.

Officials say Garringer left with Elmer early Saturday morning, but in Colorado it is a custody violation if a minor leaves without the consent of their parents for more then 30 minutes.

Elmer is facing possible charges of second degree kidnapping and violation of custody, but for now the top priority for officials is to figure out where the two have been.

Garringer was released and returned home unharmed Wednesday night.

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