A Central Falls man is accused of impeding the search for missing Cranston girl earlier this week.
Aaron Reed, 31, is charged with obstructing an officer in the execution of duty, according to a Friday statement from Cranston Police.
He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Friday in Third Division District Court and was ordered held as a probation violator in a previous case involving a charge of simple assault. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 30.
According to the statement, Reed was identified Wednesday as a “person of interest” in the case of the missing 10-year-old girl, who had last been seen Tuesday night in the Pontiac Avenue area. The girl was found safe and unharmed Wednesday night and transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for observation.
Police say Reed was considered of interest in the case “based on evidence that was discovered by Cranston Police.” Central Falls Police are said to have helped identify and locate Reed, who was found in the Sylvian Street area of that city and detained.
During subsequent questioning by Cranston detectives, Reed is said to have “made false statements … that hampered the search and the location of the missing juvenile.”
The statement from police does not provide additional details of Reed’s alleged connection with the girl’s temporary disappearance, other than to say: “At this time there are no further charges anticipated by the Cranston Police Department and the missing juvenile was a willing participant as she ran away.”
The release does indicate that Reed will face additional charges in Central Falls – failure to register as a sex offender and knowingly residing within 300 feet of a school as a sex offender – as a result of the investigation. Reed’s name does not appear in the state’s registry of Level II and Level III sex offenders, indicating he is a Level I offender – one classified as a “low risk” to re-offend and not subject to public notification requirements.
The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families additionally assisted in the search and investigation, according to police.
“Every second that goes by is filled with extreme worry, anguish and the unknown by loved ones,” Cranston Police Chief Col. Michael Winquist said in the statement. “This is a stark reminder to anyone who has critical information and misleads the police in the search of a missing person that you will be charged. This investigation could have been ended much sooner if Mr. Reed didn’t lie and provide false information to investigators, as a result he is being charged appropriately.”