Teen said she willingly went with man - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Teen said she willingly went with man

Haley Willett, 13 Haley Willett, 13
Archie Whalen Archie Whalen

By Becky Graham - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Sarah Harlan - email

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - A 13-year-old Owensboro girl is on her way home Monday night, after police said she was kidnapped by a family friend, but according to the police report, Haley Willett said she went willingly with Archie Whalen.

She told police she and Whalen devised a plan to get away and start over because she was having a difficult time with her mother.

"I'm sure he felt like he was saving her or protecting her but as far as a physical, no it's not who he is," Whalen's sister Blanche Whalen said.

Willett also told police Whalen never touched her, and they went to Sturgeon Bay to live with his sister Blanche.

Blanche said she was unaware of these plans.

In court Tuesday, it was agreed Whalen will likely face interference with parental custody, rather than kidnapping.

Whalen will be prosecuted in Kentucky.

Kentucky courts have set a $25,000 cash bond.

"My understanding is that he has waived extradition back to the state of Kentucky, so travel arrangements are being made to bring him back to Daviess County as we speak also," Jeff Jones with the Daviess County Sheriff's Office said.

The Daviess County Sheriff's Office said federal charges could be filed as well because Whalen is a convicted sex offender, and has a criminal past in New York, which includes rape and assault. 

An Amber Alert was issued Saturday around 11:00 for 13-year-old Haley Willett.

Almost 24 hours later, she was found in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin with Archie Whalen, unharmed, and Sunday night, law enforcement is crediting the Amber Alert for her safe return.

"He promised to buy her cars, cell phones and he wants to marry her, have kids with her when she's older," Haley's mother Tammy Ward said. 

It's every mother's worst nightmare, but for Tammy Ward, that nightmare became all too real when she discovered a text message on the cell phone she shares with her daughter.

"When I woke up this morning, I found a text on the phone, and like I said, the area code is a Maine area code, and she doesn't know anyone else in Maine," Ward said. "She only knows him."

That man, 43-year-old Archie Whalen, is a man Tammy and her daughter Haley knew when they lived in Maine.

Tammy said she immediately became worried Whalen might have followed them back to Owensboro, along with his dangerous past.

Authorities said Whalen is a registered sex offender with a criminal past in New York that includes rape, burglary, and assault.

Just after 4:00 Sunday morning, officers in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin did in fact locate the vehicle Whalen was believed to be driving. The red Ford Explorer pull into the parking lot of a local hotel.

They initiated a felony stop and took Mr. Whalen into custody without incident.

Willett was taken to a Wisconsin hospital, and police said she has no visible injuries.

Authorites are crediting the Amber Alert for Willett's safe return.

Leads started coming in after Willett and Whalen were first spotted Saturday just before 4:00 a.m. at a Hardinsburg, Kentucky McDonald's, and later that day in Sheboygan, Wisconsin during a traffic stop.

Law enforcement said Whalen was traveling to Wisconsin because he had family there.

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