Updated:
Original:

Police: 'Missing' MN girl wasn't really missing; mother and grandparents face charges

The girl whose disappearance prompted a plea from a small-town police chief that went viral on Facebook wasn't missing, it turns out.
Author:

Remember the girl from Montgomery, Minnesota, whose disappearance prompted this heartfelt Facebook posting from Kenyon Police Chief Lee Sjolander?

Turns out, police say the girl, 16-year-old Audrey Lukes, wasn't missing after all.

Not only that, her mother and two of her grandparents are facing charges of falsely reporting a crime, after they allegedly fed police false information stating that they hadn't seen her despite being in regular contact with her and – at one point – took her for ice cream.

According to a criminal complaint:

Audrey Lukes was reported as a runaway/missing child on Feb. 22, with her mother Tiffany Marie Lukes, 35, telling Montgomery PD she had not seen her for two days.

After filing the report, Tiffany Lukes called the police again on March 7, asking if they had any updates about her daughter. Mongomery PD asked Lukes to bring a picture of her daughter so they could put it on the department's Facebook page.

Lukes never showed and she didn't respond to repeated calls from Montgomery PD, so on March 17, they went to speak with Lukes at her home and found Tiffany's parents, Linda Ann and Ronald Leonard Lukes, 61 and 60, who said they hadn't seen or heard from their granddaughter for three weeks. They gave the officer a picture of Audrey that was used to publicize the search.

A few days later, March 21, Montgomery PD managed to get in touch with Tiffany Lukes and were given a cellphone number for Audrey. Along with various other law enforcement departments, including Kenyon and Lonsdale police and the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Department, they used the cellphone number and data from her provider to try and figure out her location.

It was on that same day that Chief Lee Sjolander of Kenyon PD posted his emotional message to Audrey Lukes, asking for her to let police and her family know where she was and that she was safe.

But after a huge effort by police and a widespread response from Minnesota and even national media to publicize her disappearance, Montgomery Police Sergent Pete Bulger was contacted by Audrey Lukes on Thursday, March 23.

The complaint continues:

Audrey Lukes told Bulger that she was in the Duluth area and that her mother and grandparents had been aware of her location, saying she had been in contact with them frequently since Feb. 20.

On a few occasions she actually returned to her home in Montgomery to shower and get fresh clothes, and on the weekend of Mar. 17-20, her grandparents took her out for ice cream, and had given her money on a couple of occasions.

During an interview, Tiffany Lukes and the grandparents admitted they had given false information to police several times during the month-long search for Audrey.

No reason for why the trio gave false information to the police was revealed in the criminal complaint, nor were any details about what the 16-year-old was doing during the month she was missing.

The mother and two grandparents have each been charged with a misdemeanor of falsely reporting a crime.

Next Up

Jose Berrios

Berríos leads Blue Jays in first start against Twins

Berríos got the win on Sunday but could the Twins win the deal down the road?

motorcycle

Crash in southern Minnesota kills motorcyclist

The crash happened Saturday at Highway 42 and County Road 14 in Highland Township.

Oli Udoh

Vikings-Cardinals: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings need a win in the desert but will they get one on Sunday?

Kyler Murray

How can the Vikings stop Kyler Murray?

The Cardinals quarterback accounted for five touchdowns against the Titans.

Red's Pizza in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

'Landmark' Wisconsin pizza joint to close amid worker shortage

The restaurant has been a local favorite since 1957.

Ky Thomas

Potts, Gopher defense dominate Buffaloes

Trey Potts ran for three touchdowns in a 30-0 victory in Boulder.

police tape, crime scene

Suspect dies by suicide after 11 hour standoff in Wisconsin motel

The standoff occurred at a motel in Balsam Lake.

U.S. district court minnesota - federal court

Four sentenced for home invasion on northern Minnesota reservation

The incident took place in October 2019 on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 10.42.39 AM

4-year-old girl killed by falling branch in Mankato is identified

She is from South Dakota, and was attending the Mahkato Annual Traditional Powwow.

Related

Police looking for man who tried to abduct 10-year-old girl from SE MN park

The girl was able to get away when he put her down to catch his breath.

Jontayah clark

Police searching for teenage girl missing for more than a week

Police say she's believed to have run away from home.

Missing 4-year-old girl found after late night search

More than 150 volunteers joined the search after the girl went missing near a cornfield.

6-year-old girl drowns at popular MN swimming pond

A day at the beach turned tragic in Lake Elmo.

Son of Hennepin County Sheriff is facing child porn and solicitation charges

Ryan Stanek is accused of trying to arrange meetings for sex with 13- and 14-year-old girls.

Police reveal where missing St. Cloud teen has been the past few days

The 17-year-old was found safe Wednesday, after disappearing over the weekend.

Mother, aunt charged with hiding suspect in activist's murder

Sid Strickland-Green III avoided capture by police for 2 months.

Man charged with abducting, sexually assaulting Fergus Falls mother

The 39-year-old tied up his victim after abducting her at gunpoint in front of her children.