June 23, 2004
KNOXVILLE (WATE and AP) -- A missing Oregon softball coach and a teenage girl who played on his team have been found together in Knoxville.
Andrew James Garver, 39, of Beaverton, Ore., had been on the run since September when he and the girl, Michelle (Mimi) Smith, 16, fled the state. Authorities say Smith willingly left with Garver.
Garver was wanted by the FBI and was considered armed and dangerous.
Beaverton Police were pleased to learn of the arrest.
"We said it before and I'll say it again today. It was a matter of when. We knew we would get him. It was just a matter of when we would find him," Beaverton Police Chief David Bishop said.
The two might still be free had it not been for a car wreck on Gallaher View Road. When police arrived to investigate the accident Garver confessed his vehicle was stolen and that he was a fugitive. Neither one was injured in the accident.
"I was just conducting a normal investigation, getting everybody's information and I guess he got nervous, decided to tell me who he was and what he was doing down here," said Knoxville Police Officer Jeremy Jinnett.
Garver is being held on federal charges of interstate flight to avoid prosecution and state charges of custodial interference and theft involving the car they were driving.
The teenager is in protective juvenile custody at the Knox County Juvenile Detention Facility.
Police said the two had been living together in a Knoxville apartment. They had apprently lived there for several months.
According to police, Garver had obtained Tennessee identification under an assumed name. His vehicle also had stolen Tennessee tags on it.
Garver telephoned one of his three ex-wives and told her he had been working at a convenience store and Mimi had worked at a health club.
On September 26, Garver cleaned out his bank accounts and Smith left a note with a friend at school saying she was running away.
Portions of this report copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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