Marion County Sheriff confirms teen’s safe return

At a 3 p.m. press conference on Thursday, Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft confirmed that Tara Simhiser, 17, of Lehigh, allegedly kidnapped Tuesday by Rejilio Hernandez, 21, was returning home safely and unharmed.

Craft said his office was notified by the Brown County Sheriff?s office about noon Thursday that both Simhiser and Hernandez were in custody.

?Hernandez is facing possible charges in Brown County and will be brought back to Marion County for possible charges,? Craft said.

Following her disappearance Tuesday, the Marion County Sheriff?s office issued an Amber Alert, which was broadcast Wednesday on radio and television networks statewide.

It was because of the widespread publicity that a bank teller in Hiawatha recognized Simhiser, who had entered the bank to cash a check, and called the local authorities, said John D. Merchant, Brown County sheriff.

?With the help of concerned citizens in that area, the Hiawatha Police Depart?ment and Brown County Sheriff?s office were able to make contact with Simhiser and Fernandez,? Craft said.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, he said, assisted his office from the beginning and will continue to participate in the ongoing investigation.

?I wish to thank the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Amber Alert System, all law enforcement agencies for their efforts and the concerned citizens, who took the time to be observant and make the appropriate calls,? Craft said.

?Without all this cooperation, the outcome may very well have been different.?


A brief video response by Sheriff Craft is posted on ?Breaking News.?

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