Two men charged after 13-year-old girl went missing in Wilkes County

Jerry Dearl Carpenter and Anthony Steven Steelman

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. — Two men face kidnapping charges after a 13-year-old girl went missing Monday in Wilkes County.

The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Jerry Dearl Carpenter, 46, of Taylorsville, and Anthony Steven Steelman, 26, of West Jefferson.

Deputies believe the men picked up the girl at the Stuckeys Travel Plaza on US-421 at Old NC-16.

The three were found at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening at a residence in Alexander County’s Vashti community.

Deputies do not believe the girl previously knew the men or had prior contact.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office charged Carpenter and Steelman with one count of first degree kidnapping each. Arrest warrants state that the men are suspected of taking her “for the purpose of … delivering a controlled substance to someone 13 years of age or younger.”

The girl is described as a 5-foot-6-inch white girl weighing about 100 pounds. She has long blonde hair and green eyes. She is listed as a runaway.