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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Runaway Teen Found In California Boy May Have Been Lured Away By Gay Man He Met On Internet

Elizabeth Weise Associated Press

A Washington state teen who ran away from home after meeting a man on a computer network was found at the San Francisco airport Sunday, police said.

Fifteen-year-old Daniel Montgomery was found sitting alone in the North Terminal waiting area at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, said Officer Paul Kendall of the San Francisco International Airport police.

“The officers asked what he was doing there. He was somewhat evasive, so they decided to take him in for further questioning,” said Officer Alan Wurdinger.

Montgomery, from the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley, appeared tired but otherwise there were no outward signs of medical problems, Kendall said. He was taken to San Mateo County Hospital where he was given a checkup.

“He’s fine,” said Kendall.

It is unknown where or with whom Daniel has been staying.

“Thus far Daniel hasn’t said what he was doing. He’s been pretty evasive with us. He’s not been telling anybody what he’d been doing,” said Kendall.

“He’s been found, he is safe. Other than that I can’t make a comment because there’s a pending investigation. We’re simply investigating the possibly that there might be violations of federal law,” said Special Agent Ray Lauer of the Seattle FBI.

Ruth and Bill Montgomery say their son met a man who goes by the nickname “Damien Starr” in a gayand-lesbian “chat room” on the computer on-line service America Online. A chat room is a discussion group within an on-line service in which computer users can send messages to one another.

They said Daniel may have been sexually confused and that may have made him more vulnerable to the man’s advances.

The man obtained Daniel’s home address and phone number and sent him a bus ticket to San Francisco. The high school sophomore left home, cashed a check for $70 and disappeared on May 18. Both he and “Starr” were subsequently in contact with the parents via electronic mail and telephone, and Daniel reported he was being treated well.

Sunday afternoon his parents flew to San Francisco and met with their son.

“Most certainly the greatest thing is we want to make him feel welcome,” his father said before the meeting. “We want him to know that we love him. We want him to know that he’s accepted.”

But after the reunion behind closed doors, Montgomery told Seattle television station KIRO that his son would not be returning to Maple Valley right away. He said Daniel will visit his grandmother in Southern California instead.

At the Seattle airport on her way to San Francisco, Ruth Montgomery had some advice for parents.

“Drop what you’re doing that you think is so important and spend more time with your kids.”

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