Three women charged with sheltering Bristol runaway
BRISTOL — Bristol police on Nov. 22 arrested three Hinesburg women on suspicion of helping a runaway Bristol youth hide from police.
Police cited Manuela Mauss, 32; Tina Miller, 38; and Michelle Granger, 42, for unlawful sheltering. Authorities allege the trio helped 17-year-old Shawn Lussier, who went missing Nov. 11 from Bristol, hide for 11 days.
According to police, Lussier had been in the custody of the Department of Children and Families when he vanished on the afternoon of Nov. 11. Police said they learned that he was living in Hinesburg at the residences of Mauss, his mother, and her friends Miller and Granger.
Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs said that officers, acting on a tip, went to the homes of Miller, Mauss and Granger around Nov. 15 to look for Lussier. Gibbs said the women told police that Lussier was not there, but was well and that police did not need to be searching for him.
Authorities said they received a tip Nov. 22 that Lussier was at Granger’s home. Police from Hinesburg and Bristol went to the home, and said they found Lussier when he was returning from Miller’s home with his mother’s.
Gibbs said that DCF asked Chittenden County prosecutors to bring charges against the women to deter others from helping runaways.
“The DCF’s concern is that too often, people who harbor runaways are not charged,” Gibbs said.
Police returned the boy to the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Mauss was jailed at the Chittenden County Correctional Center without bail for violating the court conditions that she not have contact with her son. According to court records, Mauss has one prior conviction in Addison County, for simple assault in 2013.
According to Title 13 of the Vermont Statutes, a person convicted for the first time of sheltering a runaway child could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Because the alleged crimes were committed in Hinesburg, the three women were due to be arraigned this week in Chittenden County Superior Court, criminal division, in Burlington.
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