Friend shocked by teenager's sudden disappearance
Angela Tschida, the 14-year-old Cottage Grove girl who police think left town with a 36-year-old sex offender, gave friends no indication she was troubled or planning to run, said friend Cole Bertram.
"She seemed normal," Bertram said. "She seemed happy."
Bertram said Tschida had a lot of friends and was in frequent contact with them before she left.
"I have a text from her almost every day saying 'Hey, what's up,' or 'Hey, what are you doing?'" Bertram said.
That's why it was obvious when the text messages stopped July 1. On July 2, Tschida, left town without a trace. Police believe she is with Alexius J. McMullin, who WCCO television has reported used to date Tschida's mother.
Bertram said he was shocked to hear Tschida left with McMullin, because he remembers that last fall at the Cottage Grove Middle School lunch table she called McMullin "a creep" who tried to kill his ex-girlfriend.
"She tried to make him look like she didn't like him at all," he said.
Bertram had no idea Tschida had any relationship with McMullin, he said. When Tschida first went missing, Bertram said he wasn't overly worried because she had run away from home before.
"She would always find her way back home," Bertram said. "She wouldn't go far, just to the surrounding cities to a friend's house."
The longest she was gone before was about three days, he said. Now that it's been three weeks since anyone's heard from Tschida, Bertram's scared, he said.
"My fear is that she's been sexually abused and that she's hurt somewhere," Bertram said.
Friends and family of Tschida are consoling each other through a Facebook Page Bertram created.
He said his message to Tschida is, "please come home, give us a call, just let us know that you're OK."
Anyone with information that might be helpful to police about Tschida's disappearance should contact Washington County Communications at (651) 439-9381, Detective Tom Ueland at (651) 458-6012 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
Tschida goes by the nickname "Angi" and she is 5'9" and weighs 160 pounds. Her navel is pierced and she has blonde highlights in her hair, according to a Cottage Grove Police Department press release.