WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A 13-year-old missing girl from Pennsylvania has been found here in Washington with a 20-year-old man that she met online. The girl is safe, but the man was arrested and charged with corruption of a minor.
Thirteen-year-old Savanna Marie MacMullet gave her parents the scare of their lives. She'd been missing since Monday afternoon when she met up with a 20-year-old man that she allegedly met on Facebook, Ashley Ryan Hareford from Virginia.
They were finally found Tuesday night at Union Station. Police had gotten a tip that the two had boarded a bus in Philadelphia, a megabus. And when they got here, the U.S. Marshall's were waiting for them.
When Donna Rice, of www.InternetSafety101.org, hears about stories like this, the first thing she thinks is, "This is 100% preventable."
Donna is the President and CEO of Enough is Enough.
For the last 20 years, its mission has been to make the Internet a safer place for kids.
And Donna says it all starts with educating their parents.
"At Enough is Enough, we teach parents how these predators groom, how they gain their trust because oftentimes, this scenario is quite common where the young person will willingly go and meet the older person the predator," she said.
In this case, Savanna's family claims that she had created a secret Facebook page.
It's a tactic that Donna's seen far too frequently and the dangers only increase during the holidays as more and more parents buy their kids wireless-enabled devices for Christmas.
"Whether it's a laptop of even a gaming device which is Internet connected. Or the iPad. They all have parental controls built into them. So turning on a filter. Turning on monitoring devices. Letting your kids know that that's part of your job, not just to be a good parent but to be a good cyber parent," she said.
Parents planning on getting a child a wireless-enabled device should also get Enough is Enough's Internet Safety 101 Tool Kit, available on its website: www.internetsafety101.org.