Search culminates in burglary arrest
Walbridge police have charged Jacob Hatfield, 15, the subject of an intensive search last week, with burglary, according to Paul Dobson, Wood County Prosecutor.
Three other teens face charges, including criminal trespassing and obstruction, Dobson said.
Walbridge Police Chief Walt Tylicki said Thursday his department was “looking into some leads” but referred questions to the prosecutor’s office.
Hatfield, of Haskins, O. and a student at Otsego High School, had attended a function for youths the evening of Dec. 6 at Main Street Church in Walbridge and was reported missing by his parents, Douglas and Rebecca Hatfield, after they arrived to pick him up.
By the next day volunteers and local police and fire department personnel were assembling at the church to begin a search.
According to Walbridge police reports, a command post was set up at the church to direct the search effort that included fire department personnel from Lake Township, Troy Township, Northwood, and Rossford.
A Promedica helicopter was also called out to join in the search.
Walbridge police received a tip from a resident that Hatfield had knocked at the door of a Main Street apartment early in the morning of Dec. 7.
Another tip said someone resembling the youth was seen walking in a field near the Moline-Martin area, prompting the fire crews and village police to relocate the search command post to the Glass City Boardwalk on East Broadway. Authorities then contacted the Toledo Police Department to request a search by its helicopter with a thermal imaging camera. It didn’t locate the youth and the search was called off due to darkness.
Village and Lake Township police interviewed friends of Hatfield in the village and at Lake High School and volunteers, armed with photos of him, canvassed the village.
More searches of wooded areas and fields were conducted and flyers were distributed at truck stops along I-280.
A deputy from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, a personal friend of the Hatfields, assisted with organizing the search party and the Haskins Police Department was asked to search areas around that town for the missing youth.
A Lake Township officer and four village officers, responding to a call of a burglary in progress about 7:40 p.m. at a Tyler Avenue residence, apprehended a youth, who said he was Hatfield, and two other youths at the scene.
“All the subjects were then taken out front and placed in Walbridge Police Department cruisers,” the township police report says. “Responding officer left the scene and went back in service after observing media personnel walking in the direction of the cruisers with their cameras.”