Nevada police catch runaway

Jan. 04, 2013 @ 06:33 PM

Police in Churchill County, Nev., arrested a 49-year-old man and put an end to his cross-country trip in a stolen vehicle with a 14-year-old Vance County girl.

Jerry Steve Coburn of Ayden was taken into custody on fugitive warrants based on charges from Vance and Pitt counties, according to a written statement from the Vance County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Joseph Ferguson, a Vance County deputy, confirmed the charges include felonious restraint and contributing to the delinquency of a minor from a prior Vance County incident as well as forgery and uttering charges from the Ayden Police Department in Pitt County.

The minor, Shelby Kelly, 14, ran away from her home in Vance County Nov. 26 in order to be with Coburn. They had also been linked to an alleged break-in and larceny investigation in Emerald Isle on the Outer Banks.

“Kelly is safe and arrangements are currently being made to return her to North Carolina,” Ferguson stated. “They were operating a stolen vehicle that had been taken from a residence during a December Emerald Isle break-in.”

Ferguson said that the two had switched out the North Carolina license plate for an Arizona plate.

“Kelly had cut and dyed her hair in an effort to alter her appearance,” Ferguson added. “Coburn is facing additional charges in both Vance County and Emerald Isle after his extradition to North Carolina is complete.”

Ferguson said the case is still under investigation by numerous law enforcement agencies, and is deemed sensitive because of the multi-jurisdictional cooperation of those agencies across much of the country. He also noted that Kelly’s age as a minor is also a part of the sensitive nature of the case.

Vance County Sheriff Peter White confirmed in early December that a search for the teenage runaway from Henderson and an unauthorized male adult from Pitt County had begun. The two were believed to be in the Carteret County coastal community of Emerald Isle at one point, tied to theft activity near where a Ford Crown Victoria stolen from Vance County was recovered.

“We believe they were involved in some incidents, with possibly a break-in there,” White said.

Kelly is originally from Ayden, White said, adding, “This young lady has run away before with this particular guy at least once before that I know of.”

According to White, Coburn is not suspected of abducting Kelly or keeping her against her will.

“We believe that this young lady went with this guy willingly,” he said.

However, White said Coburn is not related to Kelly and has no authorized guardianship.

State prison records indicate on March 15, 2011, Coburn received credit for county jail time served, plus probation and a suspended sentence, for a May 30, 2010, driving while impaired charge in Pitt County. The presiding court hearing was in Ayden.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.