Amber Westbrook was found in Jefferson County Friday morning safe and unharmed and a convicted sex offender who was with her is now under arrest.Both were taken to Lakewood police headquarters, where Westbrook was reunited with her parents. Matthew Preston Caulk was held on two outstanding warrants for his arrest.Jefferson County deputies found the pair at a home at City View and Turkey Creek Road in Morrison, Colo., the U.S. Marshals Service said.The discovery was credited to an anonymous tip, which the U.S. Marshals said was "certainly a direct result of the rapid and extensive media coverage given in this matter."Westbrook's family said the public support was astronomical."I just really appreciated how the public comes together, said Roger Westbrook, Ambers father. Because everybody has children, and everybody hopes this never happens to them, and I just want to say thank you."Police said they believe that Westbrook was involved in an ongoing relationship with Matthew Preston Caulk, a convicted sex offender more than twice her age. Police said Amber met the 40-year-old Caulk at the apartment complex where she lived and where Caulk was living and working odd jobs.Her parents don't believe she was aware that Caulk is a convicted sex offender."She would never have left with him if she knew what kind of person he truly was," said Amber's mom, Kimberley Maloney.
The U.S. Marshals Service said Caulk was convicted in 2002 of sexual misconduct with a child in Pierce County, Wash., where he is registered as a sex offender.Caulk is currently wanted on warrants of failing to register as a sex offender in Yellowstone County, Mont., and failing to register as a sex offender in Lakewood.Amber's family last saw her Tuesday, Sept. 25, when her stepmom dropped her off at school at the CEC Middle College of Denver, located at West 27th Avenue and Eliot Street. Both she and Caulk were spotted the following day in Morrison, Colo.Amber was classified as an "endangered runaway" and the search for her drew national attention."I would say anyone who is in the accompaniment of a sex offender who is on the run is in some level of danger," said deputy U.S. Marshal David Floyd. "He uses his personal charm probably to ingratiate himself to minors and is able to gain their confidence."The U.S. Marshals Service became involved in the case this week, as a result of the Adam Walsh Act.The legislation, enacted in July 2006, empowers the U.S. Marshals Service to assist other agencies and investigate matters involving persons who engage in interstate travel and fail to register as a sex offender. The maximum possible penalty is 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Police say Amber Westbrook ran away with Matthew Caulk, a convicted sex offender.