A 39-year-old softball coach and a teenage player from Oregon who ran off together nine months ago were found in Tennessee this week after a minor traffic accident.
Andrew James Garver was in jail Thursday awaiting a court hearing, a day after he surrendered to police. Authorities will seek to send him back to Oregon to face charges of custodial interference and car theft, said FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele in Portland, Ore.
Michelle “Mimi” Smith, 16, was being held in Juvenile Court custody, and authorities were working on returning her to her mother in Oregon. Oregon police have said Smith went with Garver willingly.
Authorities said Garver first gave a false name Wednesday when an officer began to investigate the accident, in which Garver’s sport utility vehicle was sideswiped by another vehicle. No one was hurt, but the SUV was found to be reported stolen from Oregon and had stolen Tennessee license plates. After a while, Garver told the officer who he was, authorities said.
Police said they believed Garver and Smith had been living in Knoxville since they disappeared nine months ago.
Garver’s ex-wife, Cindy Vandervest, said Garver called her after the accident and told her he and Smith had rented an apartment together, with Garver working at a convenience store and Smith at a health club.
The FBI declined to release any details about the relationship between Garver and Smith.
“We’re not going to go into all that,” Steele said.