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Suspected abductor has been in local schools

An accused stalker, who either abducted or convinced a 17-year-old Marion County teen to get in a vehicle with him, has been in some Marion County schools.

According to Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft, Rojelio “Roy” Cruz Hernandez, 21, of Odessa, Texas, had been seen in local schools, but Craft does not believe that is where he met Tara Renee Simhiser of Lehigh.

“He had been hanging around the area and became acquainted with a neighbor (of the Simhiser’s),” Craft said.

The incident started Oct. 20 when the Hillsboro High School student was reported missing from her Lehigh home. By 5:30 p.m. Oct. 21, an Amber Alert was issued, showing photos of Simhiser and Hernandez.

Hernandez was arrested Thursday and charged with contributing to a child’s misconduct and driving while license was canceled, suspended or revoked. The arrest was a result of a bank teller recognizing Simhiser and Hernandez from televised photos and calling authorities. Hernandez was attempting to get money.

Simhiser was reunited, unharmed, with her family Thursday.

Even though Craft could not divulge the nature of the charges, charges will be filed after Marion County Attorney Susan Robson reviews the case, he said.

“We believe Tara was in fear of being hurt if she didn’t comply,” Craft said.

Hernandez recently gained media attention when he was identified as a person who had entered numerous high schools in Wichita and Riley, Geary, Pottawatomie, and Marion County, attempting to enroll as a student or identifying himself as a college recruiter or someone who wanted to work with wrestling teams.

Craft said reports were turned over to the county attorney Monday or Tuesday for review.

Last modified Oct. 29, 2009

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