Missing teen found in Dyersburg

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By Goose Lindsay

Perseverance paid off for the Wartburg Police Department along with members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as missing Wartburg teenager Bridgett Gordon was found safe in West Tennessee on Monday.

“I’m relieved that she is safe,” Wartburg Police Department Captain Michael Cox said. “She was located in Dyersburg at a Walmart. TBI agents were down there today (Monday) following up on tips.”

Gordon, age 14, was last seen at her home in Wartburg the night of Dec. 3 around 10 p.m. Her mother reported her missing to the Wartburg Police Department at approximately 8:50 a.m. the following morning.

From that day, Cox has worked with several agencies following tips that eventually led to locating Gordon.

“We’ve been working so many hours on this case,” he said. “I’ve got a list of like 20 diifferent agencies that I’ve been in contact with. I’ve been in contact every day with the TBI and FBI. I’ve had times where I would be driving down the road and had to pull over and call people concerning tips. It’s been non stop that we’ve been going on this.

“It’s a relief that she’s been found, but now we’re doing interviews and finding people she’s been associated with and now we’re in the process of doing warrants on this.”

Those interviews have led authorities to begin a manhunt for Richard E. Gillilend, 45, a truck driver from Dyesrburg.

Gillilend allegedly drove to Wartburg on the night of Dec. 3 and picked up Gordon. Gordon has since traveled with Gillilend while he was on the road and lived in his truck at a truck stop in Dyersburg when he was at home. Gordon is believed to have traveled with Gillilend to several states, even as far away as Pennsylvania.

Gillilend was on the road when Gordon was found, but Cox said he will face exploitation of a minor and aggravated statutory rape charges in Morgan County when he is captured. Cox believes will also face federal charges from his taking Gordon across state lines.

“We are actively involved with a search with the police in Dyersburg , TBI and FBI looking for him,” Cox said.

Gordon has yet to return to Morgan County, as authorities are still interviewing her and making sure she is okay.

“We want to make sure she gets all the help she needs right now,” Cox said. “We’re worried about her mental state right now. Her physical state is okay right now.”

Cox hopes Gordon returns to Wartburg on Thursday.