(WRIC) — Federal authorities are now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a missing Tennessee teenager last seen here in Virginia.
Police say 14-year-old Hayleigh Cheyenne Wilson was last seen in Smyth County wearing black shorts and a flowery top. She is believed to be with 41-year-old Benjamin Joseph Shook, who has a lengthy criminal history that includes nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Shook is described as being 6 feet 3 inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a blue tee-shirt, black shorts and a camouflage ball cap.
The vehicle the two were traveling in a 2004 Ford Explorer, which was recovered in Grayson County, Virginia. They are now believed to be on foot.
Back in June, witnesses reported seeing Wilson and Shook at a campground near Sugar Grove in Smyth County. Marshals believe the girl met Shook online, according to the Associated Press.
According to 8News sister station WATE, Shook was incarcerated from 2004 to 2014, after being convicted on nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in Georgia. However, after he was released from prison, Shook failed to register as a sex offender. Instead, he fled to Tennessee and lived in a camper on the property of a Morristown resident.
Shook was found guilty of child molestation that occurred on June 2004 in Habersham County, Georgia and aggravated child molestation for an incident in May 2002 in Stephens County, Georgia. He was also incarcerated in 1992.Click here to see Hayleigh Wilson’s AMBER Alert poster.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals at 800-336-0102, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at (615) 744-4600 or Virginia State Police at (800) 822-4453.Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.