Teen in love with abduction suspect, mother says

A 43-year-old man was arrested after he was found with a 14-year-old girl whose disappearance prompted an Amber Alert on Thursday morning.

The girl's mother said her daughter claims to be in love with the man.

The German Twp. girl went missing from her school bus stop about 7 a.m. After family members contacted law enforcement, Clark County sheriff's deputies and Springfield and German Twp. police began searching for the person believed to have abducted her, Mark Edwards, 43, of Springfield.

"Information received by investigators led them to believe that Edwards could have been headed to a location in southern Ohio," a sheriff's release said in explaining the Amber Alert shortly after 8 a.m.

Deputies picked up the girl in a green Ford Expedition, which was pulled over in the 3300 block of Ohio 41 just before 10 a.m. The teen was hiding in the rear of the vehicle under blankets.

Inside the SUV, deputies found a Taser, knives, condoms, a spear and more.

"Certainly, he had the means if he would want to harm her or to have a violent confrontation with law enforcement," Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said.

Edwards was arrested on three outstanding warrants, all for sexual misconduct with a minor.

Deputies said Edwards and the teenager appeared to be planning a trip together.

"It appears that they were packed and ready for a camping trip of a sort. So it appears that they were going to go away and hide somewhere for a bit," Lt. Dustin White said.

Tammy Bruce said her daughter had told her in the past she was in love with Edwards.

“My dad took me up there when they got him up on 41. They had him handcuffed. They wouldn’t let me see him or talk to him. … I better not get a hold of him; I’m gonna rip him limb by limb,” she said.

There were warning signs that Bruce believes she missed, Bruce said Thursday afternoon.

"Follow through with your gut instincts," she said. "I had some warning bells, and it just didn't click."

Law enforcement officials took Edwards to jail and impounded his vehicle.

Edwards was interviewed by investigators from Springfield and Clark County. At the conclusion of the interview, he was placed in jail on three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, stemming from the Springfield police investigation, and one count of interference with custody, stemming from Thursday’s events. He is scheduled to appear in Springfield Municipal Count at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Said Kelly, "He should have known that this was a relationship that was destined to cause him a lot of grief and a lot of problems."

The girl was returned to her family.

Bruce, her mother, said, "In a way, I'm glad it was him and not someone else that just picked her up, because she knew him, and I don't think he'd hurt her, but I think they were planning to leave."

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