Missing McGregor teens found in Georgetown; man arrested

Two teens connected to an Amber Alert issued out of McLennan County have been located in Georgetown

Asha Lynn Cross, 14, and Emilee Solomon, 14, both went missing on June 29. An Amber Alert was sent out on July 4 after one of the girls posted "HELP" on her Snapchat, according to law enforcement.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said the department's Human Trafficking Unit got involved and was able to track the teens from McGregor to Bellmead to Belton to McGregor and eventually, Georgetown.

Detectives from McLennan County, with the help of Georgetown police, were able to trace one of the girls’ cell phones to a home on S. Church St.

Early Tuesday morning, they located the two teens and arrested one man, James Robert Vanhouten.

Vanhouten was booked in the Williamson County Jail and is facing two charges of harboring a runaway. 

Some who know Vanhouten believe there has been a mistake.

"I don’t think he did anything malicious whatsoever," said Jeffrey Jenkins, a family friend, who was temporarily staying in the house Vanhouten lived at. "He’s a nice young man." 

Vanhouten’s uncle said his nephew often helps "people who don’t have a place to stay." 

"They may have been runaways, but I’m not sure if he knew they were runaways," said Samuel Jay Mason Jr.

However, Sheriff McNamara painted a different picture on Tuesday.

"[The teens] were in a very dangerous situation with several people," he said. "And so we have reason to believe that they were mistreated very badly."

Sheriff McNamara said the teens were brought home to their families. 

He said it may have started as a runaway situation that then escalated, but he said the investigation is still ongoing and wasn’t able to confirm details.

According to law enforcement, the situation involves more than one person and other arrests will be made in the coming days.