BRYANT, Ark. - An 11-year-old Arkansas girl paid a cabbie $1,300 to take her to meet a boy in Florida, but authorities caught up with the runaway in Georgia, and found her safe, after her parents reported her missing.
Bryant police used cellphone records to determine the girl hailed the cab in Little Rock Dec. 5 after talking to a 16-year-old Jacksonville, Florida, boy she met two years ago, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Friday.
"According to the information that I have, she was in a sweatsuit with a lot of makeup on and she looked like she was 17 or 18 years old," said Ellis Houston, a managing partner with Greater Little Rock Transportation Services, which operates the local Yellow Cab service.
The driver was not charged and is not facing disciplinary action, Houston said.
"Maybe he lacked a little bit of judgment," Houston said.
According to police, the girl hitched a ride from Bryant to west Little Rock early Dec. 5 and summoned a cab to a donut shop. There, she gave the cab driver $1,300 stolen from her grandmother.
After the girl's parents reported her missing, police used cellphone records to link her to the boy and the cab service. The Georgia State Patrol stopped the cab west of Atlanta.
The boy said he didn't know the girl's plans and Bryant Police Chief Mark Kizer said it doesn't appear the boy will face charges.
"There really wasn't a crime broken by the guy in Florida," he said. "It's really, really sticky. The child wasn't kidnapped. But with an adult picking her up and taking her anywhere she shouldn't be, it's kind of a gray area.
"One side of me thinks the cabdriver did wrong, but then the other side thinks at least she met somebody who wasn't completely evil."
The grandmother has decided against pressing charges over the stolen cash, Bryant police Sgt. Todd Crowson said. The girl's father said he had already confiscated her cellphone and makeup.