Father of missing teen: homecoming was "just great"

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. - Sitting on the front porch of his Mayfield home, it is hard to miss the smile Greg wears from ear to ear.

"Blessed, lucky, just happy," he said.

 The father has no trouble describing his feelings on Monday.  What is a little tougher is going back a few days.  His daughter never got on the school bus, never came home last Tuesday.

The 14-year-old disappeared after school last Tuesday.  She told friends she was meeting up with someone she had communicated with on Facebook, someone she described only as 'a guy from Florida."

Her loved ones heard nothing from her for an agonizing three days. The week was clouded with frustrations and fliers.  Greg and his wife canvassed all of Mayfield with missing posters.

Then, on Friday, there was a phone call.  "Saying a weight's been lifted off your shoulders, that's not even the right terms to describe it," he said of hearing his daughter had been located.

Police arrested Tyler Martin, 27.  Sheriff's Deputies in Graves County, Kentucky received a tip about his whereabouts around 8:45 that night.  By 9:15, police in Shreveport, Louisiana had arrested Martin at his mother's house.

Martin was charged with kidnapping and rape.  It was bad. But Greg, whose last name we are withholding to protect the identity of his daughter, acknowledged it could have been worse.

"We're just glad she wasn't physically hurt, beaten, or anything like that."

The reunion hours later in a Louisiana hospital room was an emotional one.

"I couldn't let her go for about 10 minutes," he said of hugging the daughter he had not seen in days.

In fact, Greg admits, he has not let her out of his sight since.

"It is the happiest feeling, other than her being born that I can compare it to. We're just glad she's home," he said, breaking into tears.

With just a few weeks left in the school year, Greg and his wife have decided not to send their daughter back to school.

Martin, meanwhile, remains in custody in Louisiana where he is charged with rape.  He faces kidnapping charges in Graves County.  Sheriff Dewayne Redmon tells Local 6 his department is considering pursuing federal charges since Martin crossed state lines with the girl.

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