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Missing teen found locked in basement under hidden trapdoor
Featured Image Credit: WKYT

Missing teen found locked in basement under hidden trapdoor

The 16-year-old has been found and has since been returned to her grandmother

Police have found a teenager after she went missing earlier this month.

The 16-year-old was found locked in a basement beneath a trapdoor in the home of a man who allegedly drugged and raped her.

The teen was found in the home of 34-year-old Zackary Jones on Christmas Day after being missing for a few weeks.

An arrest report obtained by local authorities states she was found behind a trapdoor in Jones’ bedroom, which was covered by a rug.

After police arrived at his Lincoln County home, Jones claimed that the girl wasn't there, as law enforcement began its search.

The suspect was initially arrested after cops spotted the drug paraphernalia in his home, subsequently cuffing him and taking him to the police car.

Officials were then able to search the premises for the missing girl, and thankfully were able to locate her.

The terrified teenager told deputies that Jones had sexually assaulted her, who apparently told her he was 19 when they first got in contact.

The arrest citation sites that the Jones revealed his true age when the pair went back to his house, where she was threatened to coerce her into telling his family she was the legal age of 18.

She went on to claim the pair took crack cocaine together, with officers reporting the girl was 'very high' when they found her in the hidden room.

Jones is facing more than 30 different charges, including rape, though he claims to have just been helping the teen.

"Her grandma kicked her out. She didn’t appear to be that age (16). She had all kinds of piercings," Jones claimed, as per WKYT.

Zackary Jones has been charged.

The girl's family remains far from convinced though, with her grandfather, Eugene Baughman, saying she ran away from her grandmother and then met up with Jones.

"She started taking her privileges away from her, her phone and stuff. That’s when she got mad and left. She would not come back home," he said.

This is when Baughman and the rest of the girl's family lost contact with her, who quickly feared the worst.

"I was thinking she was dead," he said.

But Jones reiterates his innocence, saying: "She hid on her own free will. She was actually in the bed when police officers first came in there."

Meanwhile, Baughman concluded: "I don’t think he was rescuing anyone. I think he was trying to find another person to victimize."

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact RAINN via its helpline on 800 656 HOPE (4673) or its online chat, available 24/7 seven days a week.

Topics: US News, Crime