VANCOUVER, Wash. – A woman and her 17-year-old son lied to detectives and harbored a runaway girl, according to police in Vancouver.
Lori M. Kingrey was arrested on Wednesday, accused of hiding 16-year-old Isabella Castillo after she ran away from home. The crime is known as “unlawful harboring of a minor.”
Her 17-year-old son faces a similar juvenile charge.
Castillo had been missing for more than two weeks by the time she was found safe on Tuesday. During their search, detectives approached Kingrey and her son to ask where Castillo might be, according to Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp.
Kingrey and her son lied to detectives and said they didn’t know where Castillo was, according to Kapp. Investigators said Castillo was later found in Kingrey’s house.
“Both had the opportunity to inform detectives of what they knew,” Kapp said. “They did not do that and we came back later and it all kind of came out.”
Castillo's family feared she was the target of a local sex trafficking ring.
Castillo's aunt and legal guardian, Cymany O'Brien, said the 17-year-old is Castillo's boyfriend.
Two weeks ago, O'Brien said she asked her niece's boyfriend and his mother if they knew where Castillo was. She said they both lied and worse led her to believe her niece was in serious trouble – last seen with sex traffickers in the area.
"I'm just really trying to understand how they could perpetuate all of this," O'Brien said Wednesday. "Because that's really what it was. They perpetuated all of this. We had no inkling to really think that she was there. It just blows my mind."
Hundreds of thousands of people reached out online and volunteered time searching for the missing girl.
O'Brien understands her niece made a mistake and needs to be responsible. But she will never understand why a mother – a grown woman who knew the family's pain – broke the law and helped Castillo hide.
"How could you do this to us?" O'Brien said. "That's really it. How could she do this to us? Because 15 days without sleeping and eating – not just us but a whole lot of people out there who made sacrifices, who lost sleep, who worried for her. It's just hard for us to understand."
Castillo's family extended their thanks to everyone who reached out, wanting to help find her.
In Washington, it is illegal to provide shelter to a minor without their parent’s permission and then not tell a law enforcement officer about it when asked. The crime is a gross misdemeanor.
Kingrey and her son are scheduled to be in court Thursday.