A North Carolina truck driver is facing kidnapping and assault charges after an incident he says was all a misunderstanding.
The incident happened on Tuesday, March 30th, at around 10 p.m. in Stanford, Kentucky.
According to WKYT News, police were called to Lincoln Plaza on reports of a teenage girl running from a semi truck and a man chasing after her, assaulting her, and forcing her back into the truck.
When police arrived, they reported hearing “frantic screaming” coming from inside of the big rig and the girl reportedly “ran into the arms” of an officer as soon as police entered the cab.
“We do know that, when we made contact, she was being held against her will. She didn’t want to be there at that time,” said Stanford Police Chief Zach Middleton.
However, 29-year-old truck driver, Noe Juarez, says that the situation played out differently. From jail, Juarez explained that he and the teenage girl have been engaged in a nearly year-long relationship, and the scene on Tuesday was simply the two having an argument.
“We’re together,” Juarez explained. “Been together 11 months. We lived together in North Carolina. Her family was aware we were living together.”
People called for help when a girl was seen running from a truck driver….police say it was assault and kidnapping….but the truck driver tells us from jail it was a big misunderstanding. More from Lincoln County at 6pm @WKYT @WYMT pic.twitter.com/LTOy8bTXjt— Phil Pendleton (@philtvnews) April 1, 2021
“We had been arguing since earlier that morning. But that’s it,” Juarez said. “She has sent my mother text messages that none of that is true. I didn’t do anything.”
While officers agree that it clearly wasn’t a random kidnapping or human trafficking case, police still believe a crime was committed here.
“She was here. Didn’t want to be here, wanted to get away,” Chief Middleton said.
Throughout the investigation, the girl pleaded with officers to find a sentimental item she had lost during the argument. Luckily for her, it was found by the Mayor by chance at the scene of the investigation.
“It was laying on the edge of a pothole, the sun hit it just right,” Mayor Dalton Miller said.
The 17-year-old has since been treated at a hospital and social services are working to relocate her and her family.
The incident is still under investigation and Juarez is currently being held on charges of kidnapping, assault, and sexual assault.
To listen to the interview with Juarez’s side of the story, click here.