A 41-year-old California man has been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Salem teen Chloe Nelson, who was found safe in California on Wednesday.
Nelson, 14, went missing from her home early Tuesday morning, and law enforcement officials were concerned because it was deemed highly unusual behavior for the teen.
Police in Martinez, California, were able to locate Nelson at the residence of Blake Robert Johnston after receiving a report about her disappearance and suspected kidnapper from Salem police.
Nelson was found unharmed, and Johnston was arrested at the scene. He is currently being held in Contra Costa County jail on an Oregon warrant.
Martinez police published a press release saying that Johnston had been carrying on a secret relationship with the teen for several months after meeting her through an online social media site.
“Law enforcement continues to urge parents to talk with their children about their internet use and their access to social media web sites,” the press release said.
The Salem Police Department published a missing person report Tuesday with a description of Nelson, noting that she was 5 feet and 4 inches tall with brown hair and likely carrying a green backpack. The report asked for information from anyone who might have seen her.
After Nelson was located Wednesday morning, she was reunited with her family in Oregon. Police made no mention of Johnston in early reports, only saying that Nelson was found safely and an investigation was ongoing.
Salem Police Lt. Dave Okada originally said that Nelson’s disappearance was believed to have been “staged,” according to the Statesman Journal.