CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police on Saturday arrested a Barbour County man after he allegedly helped a 15-year-old girl run away from her mother in Greenbrier County.
Christopher Scott Winkler, 27, of Union, and a former Princeton police officer, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, according to a criminal complaint filed in Greenbrier County Magistrate Court.
On Feb. 1, police were called to the Lewis Terrace apartments and met Anna Bennett, who told officers she could not find her 15-year-old daughter.
Bennett said her daughter had not been at the apartment of her boyfriend, Dustin Bryant, as expected, according to the complaint. Police learned that Bryant was last seen getting into a black Toyota SUV.
Officers later located the SUV driving into the MedExpress parking lot in Lewisburg, police said.
Winkler, the driver, "became very nervous" and told police he did not know where the girl was, according to the complaint. When he stepped out of the SUV, he then told police that he had been at Lewis Terrace earlier that day to drop off some photos for his photography business.
Winkler said Bryant came to him and asked him to drop the girl off at a house in Caldwell and to drop Bryant off at Walmart in Lewisburg, according to the release.
Police asked Winkler if he knew that the girl's mother had been looking for her and he said he suspected something was wrong and that the girl seemed like she was trying to run from someone, according to the complaint. Winkler told police he did not want to accompany them to the police station to talk about the incident, according to the complaint. Police found Bryant at Walmart and brought him in for questioning. Bryant told police he asked Winkler to drive the girl to a house in Caldwell so her mother could not find her, according to the complaint. Bryant said Winkler knew the girl's mother was looking for her and that the girl was running away from her mother.
Winkler is currently being held in Southern Regional Jail without bail on Saturday.
Winkler is on probation after he pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in October 2012. Police said Winkler met a 17-year-old boy in the parking lot of a Mercer County supermarket in March 2011 and tried to get the youth to perform oral sex to pay off a debt. Winkler, a former Princeton police officer, was allegedly in uniform at the time.
Winkler first made news in April 2010, when he was knocked unconscious during a training exercise at the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute. Winkler's mother said another instructor had to pull two troopers off of Winkler after they allegedly kept hitting him after he was down. Winkler was involved in a multiple-assailant training scenario at the time.
Both then-Gov. Joe Manchin and Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants requested investigations into the incident. Neither investigation found fault with the instructors' actions.Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.