Boulder Police: No crime in disappearance of Erin Huss, disabled teen found safe Tuesday night

Police: Huss willingly got into man's pickup

BOULDER, Colo. - Boulder police say no crime occurred in the disappearance of a mentally disabled teen who was found safe Tuesday night hours after she got into a man's pickup outside a north Boulder food bank.

On Wednesday, police said 19-year-old Erin Huss willingly got into the red pickup truck. Huss was unhurt and has been reunited with her mother, police said.

The disappearance of Huss triggered an eight-hour police search and a statewide alert.

She was found unharmed about 10 p.m. Tuesday, not far from where she disappeared, police said.

7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger rushed to 13th Street and Yellow Pine Avenue, where Huss was found. Police were standing around a parked red Ford F-series pickup, which matched the description of a truck driven by a man that Huss was seen getting into earlier in the afternoon.

The pickup drove away in an escort of police cars.

A couple on a late evening walk found Huss on the sidewalk. Around 11:30 p.m., Mark Montalbano spoke exclusively with 7NEWS about what he called a "bizarre" night.

"She was walking just toward us and laid down and so I went up to her and asked her if all was fine and apparently things were not fine at all," said Montalbano. "I asked her her name and she said her name was Erin, so you know I sort of had an 'A-ha' moment and called the police."

While he called 911, his wife stayed with Huss and held her hand.

"I did not notice anything physically wrong with her, (but) she was definitely out of it," said Montalbano.

He said he called police before he and his wife went for their walk after seeing a red pickup truck in front of their home.

"I had never seen the truck before and I thought it was interesting. I had just seen that in the news and I said, 'What the heck, I'm going to call the police and let them know that there's a red truck here.' It might not be the right one, but who knows," said Montalbano. "You know it was just a bizarre day for me to have seen the red truck and ultimately to have found her."

Police said Huss, who functions at about the level of a 7-year-old child, was seen getting into an older red pickup truck in the 1500 block of Yarmouth Avenue at about 2:15 p.m. Police said Huss had just left a food bank at Emergency Family Assistance, located at 1575 Yarmouth Ave.

A witness described a strange scene as Huss got out of the backseat of the car she arrived in and stepped into the man's pickup.

"When (the pickup driver) drove off, she was like ducking down, like she didn't want anybody to see her," Valeria De La Rosa told 7NEWS.

Meanwhile, De La Rosa said she saw a woman who she thinks is Huss's mom walk out of the food bank to her car, only to find Erin wasn't there.

"She went to put in her groceries and then she noticed that the girl wasn't there and that's when she yelled her name. She was looking for her, like everywhere," De La Rosa said.

Police said the pickup driver was described as a man in his 40s with a mustache who was wearing glasses, a black shirt and white pants. The pickup had gardening tools in an open bed.

A statewide Missing Person with Developmental Disabilities Alert was issued for Huss, the red pickup and the driver at 5:15 p.m. by the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Police had said Huss may not seem developmentally disabled at first, but she reportedly gets lost easily. The statewide alert said Huss has been known to accept rides from strangers in the past. Huss is from Alamosa, but lives in Golden.

Police said they actively searched for Huss because she is vulnerable to being picked up by strangers. She’s also been known to disappear in the past, though police don't have any information about what occurred during those disappearances.