VALRICO — An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for a registered sex offender who authorities believe may be traveling with a 16-year-old Valrico girl who was reported missing last week.
Steven Patrick Myers, 41, is charged with interference with child custody, attempted unlawful sexual activity with certain minors and traveling to meet a minor. The charges carry a nationwide extradition order, Hillsborough sheriff's officials said.
Myers, who was previously convicted of child molestation in Georgia, is believed to be in the company of Ashley Lyon. The 16-year-old Newsome High School student vanished Friday from her home. Lyon, who suffers from bipolar disorder, left behind her medication.
Her parents, Roger and Michelle Lyon, said Monday that they found out after their daughter went missing that she had exchanged more than 2,000 text messages with Myers in the days before her disappearance.
Two weeks before Ashley Lyon disappeared, sheriff's deputies caught Myers with her and one of his sons in the cab of his truck near her home, her parents said. The deputies told Michelle Lyon that the trio was preparing to buy marijuana, Michelle said.
The deputies let Ashley go with a warning, but at home she was grounded. On Friday afternoon, her brother saw her in her bedroom about 2:30 p.m. At 4:30, he went to tell her that dinner was ready. The room was empty, the window open and the window screen lying in the yard.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is assisting sheriff's deputies in the search for Lyon. The organization created a missing-person flier, which notes that Lyon and Myers might travel to Valdosta, Ga., or San Antonio, Texas.
Ashley Lyon is 5 feet 6 inches with a large build, brown eyes and black hair in a crew cut and gauges (plug earrings) in her ears. Myers is 5 feet 11, about 170 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.
The pair may be traveling in his 1989 Ford Ranger pickup truck, which has flames painted on the front and sides. The truck bears Florida tag CSJ-M45.
Anyone with information regarding Ashley Lyon's whereabouts can call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.