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Pickup connected to missing Aloha teen, sex abuse suspect, found near Forest Park

Pickup truck found in Forest Park - Photo from the Washington County Sheriff's Office

Investigators found a pickup truck tied to a missing 15-year-old Aloha girl who is believed to be with the suspect in a sexual abuse case out of Benton County.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said it is looking for Annieka Vaughan after she ran away from her home in Aloha on Oct. 30.

Detectives are also looking for 23-year-old Zachary Petersen of Pasco, Washington, who was named a suspect in a sexual abuse investigation being conducted by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives said Annieka is the alleged victim in that case.

Someone reported a white Ford pickup truck linked to Petersen on Monday morning after seeing it parked in a gravel lot along Northwest Cornell Road in Forest Park.

Initial reports say they found a backpack that belonged to Annieka inside the truck. The pickup is being towed from the scene for further inspection.

Portland police officers did an initial search of the park area, but at this point officials haven't reported any other leads in the case.

"That links the 23-year-old male to our 15-year-old missing person. That's the first time we have concrete proof, and it, obviously, heightens our concerns and encourages us to keep searching for more leads," said Deputy Jeff Talbot of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators describe Annieka as about 5-foot 9-inches tall, weighing 105 pounds, with brown shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was enrolled at Aloha High School for about two weeks in October.

Petersen is described as 5-foot 10-inches tall, about 150 pounds, with buzzed brown hair and brown eyes.

Detectives said they think Petersen could be headed to Seaside, Oregon or Sacramento, California. Authorities in both cities are aware of the case.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office told KATU News the case is not considered to be a kidnapping because she left her home. Talbot said the case does not qualify for an Amber Alert because investigators do not think she was forcefully taken.

If you have information on the whereabouts of either person, call the non-emergency dispatch at (503) 629-0111.

Anyone who has specific information on how long the pickup has been parked in the lot should email Portland Police Detective Heidi Helwig at heidi.helwig@portlandoregon.gov.

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