MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A girl who claimed she was reported missing from Indiana on September 3 was found in a stolen car with a 24-year-old man in Myrtle Beach Thursday night, according to a Myrtle Beach Police report. The man led police on a chase before stopping at a Walmart parking lot and being placed under arrest.
At about 9:40 a.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to 7th Avenue South and South Oak Street, in reference to two people found sleeping in a vehicle, the police report states. The car was listed as stolen out of Indiana.
"This is one of those instances that proves there is no such thing as a routine call for service. What starts as two people sleeping in a car, turns into a stolen vehicle and a missing person out of Indiana," Lt. Joey Crosby said.
When the officer knocked on the driver's side door, the offender, later identified as Kody Lee Holland, started the car and sped off. Holland led police south on Kings Highway, with officers following, but not turning on their blue lights. When police did activate their blue lights, he accelerated and pulled into the parking lot of the Walmart Fresh Market near Kings Highway and Highway 544.
Holland and the girl then exited the car, leaving it running, and ran inside the store, the report states. A few moments later, officers saw Holland and the girl exit the store and sit down in the parking lot.
Holland was placed under arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and failure to stop for blue lights. A check of Holland's history revealed he was also wanted for probation and parole out of Indiana.
The girl told police that on the morning of September 3, she skipped school to hang out with Holland and another friend. She said Holland then asked her if she wanted to go on a trip, and she agreed.
The girl told police they left the state, headed towards Kentucky, and then Tennessee. That's when the girl said she wanted to go home, but Holland said if they went back, they would both go to jail. After that, they went to Baltimore to stay with Holland's aunt for about two weeks, then went to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where they stayed with Holland's grandmother, and stole her credit cards.
The girl told police they then left and headed towards South Carolina, and Holland broke into two churches while on the way. They arrived in Myrtle Beach, and after three days, had no place to stay and no money. That's when they were found by police sleeping in the stolen car.
Lt. Joey Crosby credits the NCIC database for connecting officers with information from Indiana.
"We ran a vehicle that was from Indiana, and we ran the information and discovered the vehicle was indeed stolen, we also had a person that was considered missing from Indiana, and by Indiana entering that information into the database we were able to get that information," Crosby explained.
Holland was booked into Myrtle Beach Jail, and the Department of Social Services was contacted to take the girl to a haven house until her guardians could pick her up.
Her guardians picked her up in Myrtle Beach around 7:30 a.m. Friday morning.
The young girl's guardian said she believed Holland to be dangerous, and knowing he was in a stolen car, she feared the worst.
"I thought police were going to find him, they were going to be in the car, he was going to lose control, he was going to hurt her, or get her and get her killed, and it.. I'm just so happy that she's in one piece, she's physically fine.. she just, I mean she started crying the moment she saw me," the woman said.
The guardian told WMBF News the young girl is a straight A student, and always tells her family where she is headed which is what caused them to panic when her brother stepped off the school bus without her.
"Anytime we can reunite a family with a missing loved one is a very good day for us, we love to bring closure, and have a happy ending to that story," Crosby said.
Crosby says this will be an on-going investigation between the Myrtle Beach Police Department and law enforcement agencies out of Indiana.
Holland will be held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.