CLEARFIELD – The two men who allegedly ran away with a teenage Clearfield girl and who were later found with her in Nebraska were scheduled for preliminary hearings during centralized court Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
Austin J. Patterson, 22, of SCI Mercer and formerly of Clearfield, has been charged by Officer Shawn Kronenwetter of the Lawrence Township police with statutory sexual assault/four – eight years older, F2; flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment F3; unlawful contact with minor/sexual offenses, F3; and dissemination of sexual material to a minor, F3
He’s also been charged with hindering apprehension/prosecution, F3, two counts; criminal use of a communication facility, F3; endangering the welfare of children, M1; corruption of minors, M1; indecent assault/person less than 16 years of age, M2; and disorderly conduct, M3.
Kevin Michael Osborn, 26, of Clearfield has been charged with hindering apprehension/prosecution, F3, two counts; corruption of minors, M1; and disorderly conduct, M3. Both Patterson and Osborn waived their rights to preliminary hearings, and their bail was set at $50,000 monetary and $25,000 unsecured, respectively.
The charges against Patterson and Osborn stem from a report about a runaway juvenile at around 6 a.m. Oct. 6, 2016, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
A dispatcher informed police that the juvenile’s father believed she was possibly with a fugitive, Patterson. She had last been seen around 12:30 a.m.
At the scene, police obtained the juvenile’s physical description and cell phone information. They were told she’d escaped through her bedroom window, leaving with her cellular phone, laptop and $50. She’d also left a note for her father.
Kronenwetter contacted County Control and requested the dispatcher to have Verizon attempt to trace the juvenile’s phone. However, information from Verizon showed the last “ping” was at 11:15 p.m. Oct. 5, 2016 at her residence.
Verizon also informed the dispatcher that the cellular phone was displaying as “inactive,” which meant it was either off or dead.
A Missing Child Notification was faxed to both the Pennsylvania Department of Health/Division of Vital Records and the Student Records Department. A National Crime Information Center Missing Person entry worksheet was faxed to County Control.
Later Oct. 6, 2016, Kronenwetter was given permission to search the juvenile’s iPad, and it was turned over to township police.
The next day, police were contacted about the juvenile being with Patterson. Kronenwetter was provided with user names and or e-mail addresses and a password for the juvenile’s Facebook and Snapchat accounts.
Kronenwetter also learned the juvenile was believed to be with Patterson and Osborn in a town near Virginia Beach, Va. They were to be traveling in Osborn’s vehicle.
On Oct. 14, 2016, police were contacted by Osborn’s fiancé after he reported his 2008 green Toyota Camry, which was bearing Pennsylvania registration, as stolen out of Waldorf, Md.
On Nov. 3, 2016, police were contacted by Osborn’s fiancé again. This time, he said Osborn called him from a blocked number and asked for money. Osborn said that he was in Iowa but wouldn’t reveal a specific location.
Osborn’s fiancé told police he didn’t believe Osborn, who also claimed that he’d dropped off Patterson and the juvenile and wasn’t aware of their whereabouts anymore.
Police contacted Verizon’s Security Department and received the blocked number from which Osborn’s fiancé had received a call. After faxing an Emergency Situation Disclosure to Verizon, police were provided an approximate grid location of the cell phone.
The cellular phone came back to Superior Street in Lincoln, Neb. Police made contact with the Lincoln, Neb., Police Department and faxed them comprehensive information on the juvenile, Patterson and Osborn.
Lincoln, Neb., police were asked to check the area of the last grid location. On Nov. 4, 2016, township police were advised that negative contact was made, but there would be a be-on-the-look-out alert issued in the area; a flag would also be put out on the trio’s vehicle.
On Nov. 22, 2016, Kronenwetter contacted the U.S. Marshals Service and requested its assistance with the investigation. U.S. Marshal Steve Liston requested Kronenwetter’s 141-page case file and it was provided to him directly.
On Nov. 30, 2016, Liston informed township police that another U.S. Marshal had located the stolen vehicle that Osborn, Patterson and the juvenile were traveling in. He said the marshal observed Patterson and the juvenile get inside but then lost track of them.
Liston told township police the marshal planned to remain in the area to wait for them to return. At 1:33 p.m., he confirmed the marshal had made contact with them. The marshal requested that Patterson’s extradition be changed to full or nationwide; otherwise, U.S. Marshals would have to release him.
Kronenwetter spoke with District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. and Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Churner. He then informed the marshal that extradition information had been updated for Patterson.
On Dec. 3, 2016, the juvenile went to the township police station for the purpose of an interview about her whereabouts over the previous two months. Kronenwetter asked Officer Julie Curry to conduct the interview to make it more comfortable for the juvenile.
During the interview, the juvenile said Patterson was her boyfriend, and they talked via text messages because they weren’t permitted to be together.
She confirmed three people were involved in the case, and they were her, Patterson and Osborn. She also allegedly admitted that she and Patterson engaged in sex and it only happened two times while they were in Nebraska. She later recanted this in her voluntary written statements.
According to the juvenile, she left Clearfield with Patterson and Osborn, and it was a “last-minute decision that she didn’t think through.” They’d made their plans the night before, and she wanted to leave in order to have a relationship with Patterson.
She said they went directly to Lincoln, Neb, which was suggested by Osborn. While there, she said they mostly stayed in hotels until the end when they moved into a trailer park, and they were located there by U.S. Marshals.
On Jan. 7, Kronenwetter and Curry conducted a second interview with the juvenile. She confirmed that she, Patterson and Osborn were all aware that Patterson was in trouble with Clearfield Borough police and Clearfield County Probation and possibly facing jail time.
She said it was what spawned Osborn’s idea for them to all run away together. The juvenile said she was initially reluctant but quickly changed her mind, and they all communicated by Snapchat, TextNow and phone calls.
When they discussed their “running away plan” the night before on Oct. 5, 2016, she allegedly said Osborn suggested going to Lincoln, Neb. She reiterated that once there, they stayed in a “weekly rate” hotel and eventually with people at a trailer park.
She allegedly admitted for a second time to having sex with Patterson. As in the first interview, she said it only happened twice, and both times were while they were in Lincoln, Neb. However, she later recanted this in writing.
When asked about nude photographs found on an electronic device belonging to her, the juvenile said Patterson sent them to her.
The juvenile said that Osborn and Patterson had been staying in the Virginia Beach and Washington, D.C. area, before they left for Lincoln, Neb., and she communicated with him while he was there.
She said she left her iPad at a friend’s residence to keep her father from tracking her. Osborn allegedly came to Clearfield, picked her up and drove her back to Washington, D.C., on the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2016. Both Osborn and Patterson drove her back to Clearfield afterward.
However, the juvenile’s mother went to police with information she’d learned through speaking with the juvenile as well as one of her friends. She said the juvenile had admitted to having sex multiple times with Patterson before and after running off with him.
According to the affidavit, police determined Patterson had indecent contact with the juvenile who was 15 years old during July of 2016 until Oct. 6, 2016.
On Feb. 2, police went to the county jail to conduct an interview with Patterson. He said he started talking with the juvenile through Facebook around May or June of 2016. They continued to talk and hang out throughout June and July, and mainly communicated through text messages, Snapchat and TextNow.
He was aware of her age and allegedly talked to her in a sexual manner and arranged for an opportunity to have sexual relations. Patterson said they became “more serious” around June 29, 2016.
Patterson allegedly admitted to receiving a phone call from his probation officer regarding an incident with Clearfield Borough police. He was informed he would have a probation violation against him if he didn’t appear for court. Patterson said he told his PO “to do the violation” and that he never really intended on appearing for his court hearing.
Patterson had probation violations in relation to a burglary incident in Lawrence Township and possession of drug/contraband and or paraphernalia charges in Clearfield Borough. He was later wanted for interfering with the custody of the juvenile and having unlawful contact with her, according to the affidavit.
Patterson admitted that he and Osborn drove to Clearfield to take the juvenile down to Waldorf, Md., for the weekend. They returned her Oct. 2, 2016 until the night of Oct. 6, 2016, when they allegedly returned to get her.
Upon further discussion, Patterson claimed he and the juvenile weren’t intimate in Clearfield. Later, he recanted this story, saying he lied, and that he first had sex with the juvenile in August of 2016 after serving a 15-day sentence.
Patterson also allegedly admitted that he and the juvenile smashed their cell phones and threw them into the river behind the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library, Clearfield, and they’d exchanged explicit pictures a couple of times.
Patterson concluded the interview by telling police that he didn’t start out talking to the juvenile in a sexual manner. Instead, he said it all started from a “random” Facebook message and “something came of it from there.”
On Feb. 14, Kronenwetter received an e-mail containing two explicit images of Patterson. He was also told by phone that the juvenile was willing to discuss her relationship with Patterson.
The next day, Kronenwetter received an e-mail with the juvenile’s written statement. It read: “My relationship became intimate with Austin Patterson in the summer of 2016.”
On March 12 due to a request for additional details, the juvenile updated her voluntary written statement to read: “I had intercourse with Austin Patterson sometime in late July of 2016. I do not know the exact date.”