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01 March 2024

Missing girl found, man who took her kills himself


Police say a 14-year-old girl who went missing from a Maine foster home has been found safe in Georgia and the man who took her there has killed himself.

Police had been searching for Heavenlee Benjamin for more than a week before finding her Tuesday. Heavenlee went missing from the Readfield foster home late last month.

The Kennebec Journal reports Maine state police were working with Georgia authorities to charge 35-year-old Robert Gooden with criminal restraint but he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday.

Police say Heavenlee met Gooden online and appears to have left the foster home on her own.

Heavenlee was found Tuesday morning at a home in Smyrna, outside Atlanta. Police say they’re continuing to investigate whether other people were involved.