12-year-old girl, who vanished for 8 days, was with 27-year-old man when she was found, police say

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, March 2, 2024
E'minie Hughes found: 12-year-old Houston girl located in Columbus, Texas, after vanishing 8 days ago; Sirterryon Preston arrested
Authorities said the girl was with a 27-year-old man when officers located her unharmed in Columbus, Texas, on Friday afternoon.

COLUMBUS, Texas (KTRK) -- The 12-year-old Houston girl, whose Amber Alert triggered fears for her family and police, was with a 27-year-old man when she was found unharmed, authorities said on Friday.

The Houston Police Department confirmed to ABC13 that E'minie Hughes was located in Columbus, Texas, a town located an hour and a half west of Houston along I-10.

The police department in the town of 3,700 people elaborated on what took place Friday afternoon when the girl was located.

According to Columbus police, officers tried to detain Houston man Sirterryon Preston at 12:40 p.m. in reference to having possession of the missing child. They said Preston tried to get away from custody but was captured and arrested.

The man was booked into the Colorado County Detention Facility on an evading charge, but further counts are pending as the investigation continues.

Authorities added that the child was taken to Texas Children's Hospital for an evaluation.

Aside from the FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Colorado County Sheriff's Office, and Texas Parks and Wildlife assisted Columbus and Houston police.

Eyewitness News was with E'minie's family on Thursday, a week after she was last seen.

Neighbors' cameras captured the moment she disappeared when a truck pulled up close to her home and she got in.

HPD said there was a fear that E'minie had been trafficked after using the adult dating app, "Tagged."

"If they're on the internet, have access to the internet, predators have access to your child," Dr. Elizabeth Gilmore, a criminal justice professor at UH-Downtown, said. "So have constant conversations about safety and your kids, knowing they are not going to get in trouble."

Houston police have not disclosed where they think the little girl was for eight days or what happened to her.