PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities have charged a man after they say he tried to run down a sheriff’s deputy in South Philadelphia during a search for a missing New Jersey girl.
Police say 14-year-old Hannah Jones, of New Jersey, was absorbed into a human trafficking ring with ties to South Philadelphia.
It was just before 11:30 Saturday night when an FBI task force tracked Hannah to the 3000 block of South 7th Street near the Schuylkill Expressway.
Officials say deputies with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office were working to locate Hannah when they saw a car pull up to their location along the with the Hannah inside.
“I did observe Hannah in the front passenger seats, however, the driver did fail to listen to our commands and fled the area,” said Detective Chris Powell, with the Florence Township Police Department. “At this point, we believe she may be in the Philadelphia area, however, we are still actively pursuing all tips and information that we received and I know the other agencies continue to do that as well.”
Police say the deputies pulled their vehicle in front of the car, a white Pontiac Grand Am, exited and identified themselves as law enforcement officers, and ordered the driver, 32-year-old Deven Harley, to shut the vehicle off multiple times.
It was at that point, police say, Harley put the car in drive and began to pull away, striking one of the deputies and knocking him to the ground. The deputy suffered minor injuries to his hands and knees.
Hannah’s mother, Roseanne Giovanetti, confirms she ran away a week ago.
“We have search parties out,” Giovanetti said. “Like crazy looking for my daughter. We believe she was in Trenton for a long time and I know she will get in a car with anybody and just go off.”
Giovanetti says she was told her daughter and the man she was with then abandoned the car several blocks away from the first scene.
“Just come home. You know our phone numbers, you know our addresses, you’re not afraid to get in the car with someone or get on the train, so just get home,” said Giovannetti.
Police say after Harley dumped his car in the 900 block of Johnston Street, took off, making it about a mile to the 1300 block of Snyder Avenue, where he was arrested. Hannah remains missing at this time.
Eyewitness News obtained surveillance footage from a home near Johnston Street where sources say Harley was seen running with Hannah.
“It’s alarming, but I think that’s the reality of what’s occurring today,” said Gina Furia of South Philadelphia.
Harley has been charged with aggravated assault and related offenses for striking a sheriff’s deputy in South Philly during a task force operation.
It hasn’t been revealed how Hannah Jones may have slipped into the orbit of a human trafficking ring operating in Philadelphia, or what Harley’s role may have been.
Harley is next due in court at the end of the month.
Police and Hannah’s mother say they don’t believe she is being held against her will.