Border agents encounter missing Montana teen at Texas checkpoint; man arrested

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Courtesy: Bozeman Police Department

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Montana teen reported missing last month was found safe at a Border Patrol checkpoint hundreds of miles away in West Texas.

Police in Bozeman, Mont., said 16-year-old Gaberielle Harding left her home on Jan. 20 and had been in Clatskanie, Ore., around Jan. 25.

Bozeman police said she was seen with 20-year-old Zachary Green Littlepage.

On Jan. 31, Border Patrol agents staffing the Sierra Blanca checkpoint encountered a teen and man in a vehicle that matched the description provided by Bozeman police, according to KECI, the regional NBC affiliate in Missoula, Mont.

Agents later identified the teen as Harding and the man as Littlepage. Both were turned over to the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office.

Bozeman police said Littlepage was taken into custody and charged with custodial interference. He is being held in Texas pending an extradition hearing.

Harding is safe and being assisted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

“This is a great example of agents being diligent in their duties,” Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak told KECI. “I’m proud of their work and happy that the missing juvenile was rescued.”

In a statement, the Bozeman Police Department thanked the Montana State University Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, community members as well as the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office in Texas for their support throughout the investigation.

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