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Missing South Carolina Girls Found in Nevada

August 21, 1996

SPARKS, Nev. (AP) _ Police found two teen-age girls who were missing for a week after they left South Carolina with an 18-year-old man they met on the Internet.

Casey Thompson, 15, of Pauline, S.C., and Summer Nix, 13, of Spartanburg, S.C., were booked into a juvenile detention center as runaways. Investigators hope to question the pair today.

One girl was picked up as she left a home in Washoe Valley, south of Reno, and the other was found in a convenience store parking lot Tuesday night.

``They were staying wherever they could,″ Detective Dave DePaoli said.

Summer’s grandmother Pauline McFall said police told her this morning that her granddaughter was in good condition.

``They said she seemed glad to be found,″ McFall said. ``We’re all just so glad that she’s OK and nothing happened to her.″

She said police did not discuss Casey’s condition or why the girls left home.

The girls were last seen Aug. 13 getting into the car with a man they met last spring through messages on a computer bulletin board. His computer name was ``The Dark One.″

``I can show you fear in a handful of dust,″ he wrote the girls.

Police identified him Tuesday as Cash Morriss of Sparks, and said he had no criminal record.

Investigators intend to question the girls, Morriss and his family to find out how long the girls have been in the area and to clarify Morriss’ role in their trip.

``He told his relatives he was going to Yosemite and the Bay area, and they have no reason not to believe that,″ police Lt. David Saville said.

Spartanburg County sheriff’s spokeswoman Heidi Owen said Sparks investigators reported that Morriss called family members in his hometown late Tuesday and said he was nearby.

The girls accessed the Internet through Casey’s computer.

Summer’s mother, Connie Nix, said Summer’s friends told her Casey and Morriss were dating online and had planned to run away together.

``My daughter only went along as loyalty to her friend,″ Ms. Nix said.

A friend who saw Summer get into Morriss’ car later gave the girl’s grandmother a note that read: ``Dear Mom. Hey, I’m sorry. This is not because of you. I love you, and I will be back. Love. Summer.″

Venger Kawaguchi, 25, of Florida has seen Morriss and the girls post messages in the Internet Relay Chat group he created five years ago called Vampire.

He said Internet explorers discuss the Gothic art scene and life, talking about alternative music, artwork and literature that grew from the dark, gloomy world of vampire stories and myths.

``It’s not a satanic type of thing,″ Kawaguchi said.

Ms. Nix said she has read the Internet messages from ``The Dark One″ and ``The Goblin King.″ Authorities have not said whether ``The Goblin King″ is another person or Morriss’ second online identity.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said there have been about 30 similar cases nationwide in the past two years.

``There have not been thousands of these type of situations, but the number is definitely rising,″ he said.

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