Police: Tenn. teen that sparked AMBER Alert faces juvenile charges

Benjamin Shook, Hayleigh Wilson (Photo: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Hawkins County teen, in the spotlight of a nationwide AMBER Alert, is now facing charges.

About two weeks ago, the alert was issued for Hayleigh Wilson, 14, of Surgoinsville. Police said she was with convicted sex offender Benjamin Shook, 41.

Hayleigh Wilson
Hayleigh Wilson

Surgoinsville Police Chief James Hammonds said the two met on online app called ‘KIK.’ Hammonds said Hayleigh told him she did not know Shook is a convicted sex offender.

Immediately after Hayleigh left her home, police filed a petition against Hayleigh as a runaway. Hammonds said this was filed because she left home without permission.

Police said Hayleigh also told them she went with Shook because ‘she was bored.’

16 days later, both Hayleigh and Shook were found in Atkins, Virginia. According to police, Hayleigh told them they had been living off the land, and she was tired and ready to go home.

Hours after Hayleigh was found, an additional petition was filed against Hayleigh. Hammonds said she now faces Theft Over $1,000. Police said when the pair left Surgoinsville, they took her step-dad’s truck, which was later dumped in Smyth County, Virginia.

Hammonds told 8News sister station News Channel 11 Tuesday, “we are glad to have her back, but she has to take responsibility for her actions.”

Hayleigh will be in Hawkins County Juvenile Court Wednesday morning.

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