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Utah man claimed he was trying to ‘help’ missing Indiana teen

By Jeff Tavss

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    VERNAL, Utah (KSTU) — Police have arrested a Vernal man after he was found with a teenage girl from Indiana who had gone missing.

Matthew Brian Barrow, 23, told Vernal police officers on Monday that he had met the 17-year-old girl while he was working as an online suicide crisis worker. In a social media post, Barrow claimed he had “experience with suicidal thoughts from his past and was looking to help people,” according to the arrest report.

The unidentified girl met Barrow online, allegedly telling him about problems she had at home. After forming a relationship over several months, Barrow drove to the girl’s Indiana home where she snuck out a window and met in him an alleyway before the two drove back to Utah.

Police said the two had been living in Vernal since leaving Indiana, and had engaged in a sexual relationship. Barrow told officers their plan was to live together until the girl turned 18 when they would get married.

“Matthew said he was not a pedo and that he knew she had to turn 18 [years of age] before they got serious,” the report reads.

When the girl was located at Barrow’s home, she told officers she had “suicidal ideations” and was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Barrow as taken into custody and faces one charge of kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a minor.

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