A convicted sex offender, Christopher James Porter, has been charged with multiple offenses after convincing a 16-year-old girl, Lauren Heath, to run away with him, according to the Monroe Police Department. Lauren had been reported missing since Friday, October 13, and was located by law enforcement in a Lowe’s parking lot in Kirkwood, Missouri. Monroe Police officers observed a suspicious vehicle and made contact with Porter, who was driving, with Lauren in the passenger seat.
Lauren was able to provide her birth certificate and her mother’s phone number, which helped police establish contact with her parents. Prior to her disappearance, Lauren was captured on Ring camera footage leaving her family home in Monroe on October 13. Her sudden disappearance was deemed highly uncharacteristic by her parents, who expressed concern that she may have been lured away.
Monroe Police confirmed that Lauren met Porter on a social media app. Porter, who is a convicted sex offender, took advantage of comments made by Lauren about stress and wanting to run away, ultimately convincing her to do so. He traveled from Oklahoma to Monroe to pick her up. Porter has been charged with multiple offenses in Missouri and is expected to face additional charges as the investigation continues.
Lauren’s parents were able to reunite with their daughter in Missouri and are expected to return home soon. Porter was booked into the St. Louis County Justice Center on October 25. The investigation remains active and ongoing.