- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida detectives are heading to Louisiana to interview a missing teenage girl who was found traveling with a registered sex offender.

The two were found earlier last week after a sighting by a Louisiana truck stop cashier triggered a lengthy police chase where authorities threw down spike strips to blow out the tires on Steven Myers’ truck. Officials say Myers stabbed the 16-year-old girl and then himself before being subdued.

The teen wasn’t kidnapped, but 41-year-old Myers had manipulated her to go with him, authorities said.

Hillsborough County sheriff’s detectives said Friday they will interview the teen, who suffers from mental illness, while she’s in the hospital. The Associated Press is not identifying the girl or her family because of allegations that she was sexually assaulted.

Florida detectives also plan to charge Myers with five counts of using a cellphone to seduce and solicit a minor child for sex. Myers is being held in Lafayette Parish jail and also faces charges that include attempted murder and unlawful sexual activity. It’s unclear when Myers will be transferred from Louisiana to face charges in Florida.

Family and neighbors started social media campaigns, passed out fliers, and contacted the media after the girl went missing from her Tampa area home on June 11.

Authorities cornered the pair at a Grosse Tete, Louisiana, truck stop and police say Myers led officers on a chase using a truck that was stolen in the Florida Panhandle.

Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department said the man got out of the truck with a knife, and officers subdued him with a stun gun and a police dog. Officers then got the girl out of the truck. Myers stabbed the girl, then himself, and was bitten by the police dog, police said.

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