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    Girl Thought Kidnapped, Then Found In Kissimmee Is Charged

    POSTED: 8:41 am EST February 8, 2005
    UPDATED: 8:46 am EST February 8, 2005

    MACON, Ga. -- A 14-year-old Georgia girl who had been the subject of a national
    Amber Alert before she was found in Florida is now believed to have left
    willingly with the man and is facing charges, police said.

    Authorities initially thought the girl had been kidnapped Friday. She was found
    unharmed the next day in Kissimmee, Fla.

    Now she is accused of participating in the assault on her adoptive grandfather
    Friday night, Macon, Ga., police spokeswoman Melanie Hofmann said Monday. She
    has been charged with aggravated assault on a person over 60 and armed robbery
    in the attack on 80-year-old Hugh Hunnicutt.

    The incident initially prompted a national Amber Alert because authorities
    thought the girl had been kidnapped by Michael Dewitt Hightower.

    But it is now believed the girl left willingly with Hightower, who is the
    estranged husband of her biological mother, Hofmann said.

    Hightower, 39, is awaiting extradition in Florida on charges of kidnapping,
    aggravated assault on a person over 60, armed robbery and theft by taking auto.

    Macon Judicial Circuit assistant prosecutor Nancy Scott Moskaly said Hightower
    still faces a kidnapping charge, even though it now appears the girl left
    willingly. In Georgia, it is illegal for someone to take a juvenile without the
    consent of their parent or guardian.

    "A 14-year-old girl is going to agree to do a lot of things," Moskaly said.
    "That is why she can't make those decisions."

    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
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