Posted: Jan 16, 2013 12:50 PM by MTN News
GREAT FALLS - A woman is accused of hiding a Great Falls runaway in her home after he was found, months after being reported missing, hiding under a bed.
Daniel Christensen, the Great Falls teenager who was reported as a runaway on September 17, 2012, was found safe on Tuesday at a home on Chowen Springs Loop in Great Falls. He was found hiding underneath a bunk bed in a second floor bedroom of the residence.
Jenna Van Delden, the occupant of the residence, was arrested and has been charged with custodial interference, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Charging documents state that deputies with the Cascade County Sheriff's Office interviewed Van Delden on Oct. 5. During the interview, Van Delden denied any knowledge of the teen's whereabouts and stated that she had not had any recent contact with him.
The documents state that officers entered Van Delden's residence on other occasions following the initial interview after receiving information that she was "hiding the child from his father and from law enforcement officers." The teen was not found during any of those visits.
On Jan. 14, law enforcement received word that Christensen had been seen at Van Delden's home earlier in the day and that he had been living there since he ran away from home.
A search warrant was granted on Tuesday, Jan. 15, and officers went to the home, where Van Delden again denied having any knowledge of Christensen's whereabouts and stated that he was not inside of her house.
When a deputy searched the home, he found Christensen hiding underneath a bunk bed in a second floor bedroom.
Christensen was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and charged with obstructing a peace officer.
The sheriff's office is working with the Cascade County Attorney's Office and the Department of Family Services in the investigation.
According to the sheriff's office, at no time during the investigation has it been determined that Christensen was abducted or removed under duress from his parents, and that he is considered to be a recovered runaway.