18-year-old nabbed after admitting to helping girl run away from home

Samuel Jacob Pippenger

A Dunnellon High School student was jailed last week after it was determined that he helped a 17-year-old girl run away from home.

A Marion County sheriff’s deputy spoke with the girl’s mother on Jan. 15 and she claimed to have found text messages on her daughter’s cell phone from 18-year-old Samuel Jacob Pippenger. She said the messages were between her daughter and Pippenger from the prior night when the girl ran away, a sheriff’s office report states.

Deputies spoke with Pippenger at his residence at 1980 SW 160th Pl. in Marion Oaks, where he admitted to helping the girl leave her home. He said he transported her to a friend’s house in the 13900 block of SW 34th Terrace Rd., the report says.

The next day, a deputy reviewed the text messages between Pippenger and the girl. They stated that Pippenger “would do anything in his power” to keep her safe and hidden from law enforcement. The texts also revealed that the initial plan was for Pippenger to pick the girl up at residence in the 7400 block of SW 201st Street in Dunnellon and take her to his house. If police arrived looking for her, Pippenger planned to hide her in the attic near his room, the report says.

Deputies noted that after reading the text messages it was clear that Pippenger planned to keep the girl “hidden and away from both law enforcement and her parents, which interferes in their custody.”

A deputy responded to Dunnellon High School, at 10055 SW 180th Avenue Rd., and made contact with the school’s resource officer. They had Pippenger come to an office, where after being read his rights, he admitted to helping the girl run away from home. He said he let her use his credit card for anything she needed to help fulfill leaving her home. And he said he knew the girl was 17 and would turn 18 sometime in August, the report says.

Pippenger was taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with interfering with the custody of a minor. He was being held on $2,000 bond and is due in court Feb. 19 at 9 a.m.