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Minnesota man charged with kidnapping in case of missing Rochester teen

Updated: 05/08/2014 11:12 PM
Created: 05/08/2014 1:55 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

A Minnesota man is facing kidnapping charges in connection with the case of a missing Rochester teen.

Amber Goolsby went missing on Monday. Investigators say she was kidnapped and taken to Minnesota by 53-year-old Michael Goerlich, who we’re told she met in an online chat room.

Al and Janice Goolsby knew that their daughter was kidnapped. They now know she is safe. But there is one question that haunted them. They want to know how she got from Rochester to Washington County, Minnesota where police found her.

News10NBC was there with Al and Janice Goolsby as they got that answer from a Minnesota prosecutor. Amber knew the man who is charged with her kidnapping. She met him on a chat line.

Janice Goolsby, Amber's Mother, said, “The prosecutor in Minnesota informed us she thought she was speaking to a young girl. It turned out it was a guy and so they have had conversations and he came here to get her.”

Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton said, “The information that we have is she did not want to go back to Minnesota, but during the course of the conversation, she had agreed to go.”

The Goolsby are trying to make sense of this. They don't have internet access in their house. Amber was just inducted into the National Honor Society. They are thankful this situation is on its way to a positive conclusion and they're hoping their experience can help other parents and even save the lives of some children.

Al Goolsby said, “Most teenagers don't come back, but our daughter is coming back. She made a choice; she made a bad choice, so let's learn on that. It's nothing that she did wrong, it’s just choices that she made, but we'll learn on that and hopefully other parents and other families will learn on this also. Again, I encourage everyone; don't be afraid to invade their children's privacy.”

News10NBC reached out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They say 30,000 kids are abducted and trafficked every year. They encourage parents to have the talk about internet safety with their kids. There are tips on how to have the conversation and what to lookout for to keep your children safe on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website.

Goerlich is being held in jail on $1-million bail.

Michael Goerlich
Amber Goolsby




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