Hayleigh Wilson search costly for law enforcement

The Smyth County Sheriff's Office spent more than 1,700 hours in overtime searching for Hayleigh Wilson.


SMYTH COUNTY, VA (WJHL) A Southwest Virginia Sheriff’s Office estimates its officers worked more than 1,700 hours in overtime searching for Hayleigh Wilson.

The Smyth County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office took the lead in the search after surveillance video showed Wilson and Benjamin Shook, a convicted sex offender, in a convenience in Sugar Grove.

Hayleigh Wilson and Benjamin Shook in Smyth County, VA.

Police said Shook met Wilson through a social media app.   Her disappearance from her home in Surgoinsville, Tennessee, triggered a national Amber Alert.

The two were found in Smyth County at a home in Adkins.   Wilson is back home with her family facing charges in juvenile court for being a runaway and for the theft of her father’s truck.   Shook is in federal custody charged with violating the Tennessee sex offender registry.   He could face more charges in the coming days.

Wilson later said she left with Shook because she was bored.

Major Chip Shuler said his officers worked 1,700 hours in addition to their regular shifts. He said his office is still in the process of tabulating the cost of fuel and other supplies used to find Hayleigh.

“It was hard,” said Sheriff R.D. Bradley the day Hayleigh was found.  “We had men on the trail on horses and bicycles.  Our main goal was to get this girl home safely.”

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office was just one of multiple local, state, and federal agencies that searched for Wilson and Shook.

Copyright 2015 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

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