ST. PETERS • The grandmother of a missing 16-year-old girl appealed for help Wednesday from the public in finding her and the 27-year-old convicted sex offender police say she may be with.
"They've got to stop to get food, or bathrooms, gas, whatever," said Shirley Schrier of Lansing, Mich., the grandmother of Molly Linhardt of St. Peters, who has been missing since Monday night.
"Somebody's got to see her."
Her voice cracking, Schrier said "we just want her home. She needs to be here with her family."
Schrier and Katie Linhardt, Molly Linhardt's 20-year-old sister, met with reporters at St. Peters police headquarters.
The two also urged Molly to call home.
"I just want to know she's OK," Katie Linhardt said. "Call me, call my mom, call anybody."
The sex offender is Benjamin Kinkade of Wright City. He was convicted of statutory rape after having sex with a 12-year-old girl when he was 17 in 2002.
Police said Molly Linhardt and Kinkade had previously exchanged text messages and phone calls and knew each other from working at a KFC restaurant on Jungermann Road in St. Peters. Kinkade was fired at the end of last month, police spokeswoman Melissa Doss said.
Doss said Molly Linhardt, a junior at Francis Howell North High School, skipped school Monday. At the end of the school day, Doss said, Molly Linhardt's father saw Kinkade drop her off at the school when the father stopped by to take her home.
Doss said the father took her to her job at the restaurant at 4 p.m.; he found out later she wasn't scheduled to work. The family later discovered she walked out of the restaurant.
Kinkade's vehicle is a silver 2006 Chevrolet Colorado with Missouri license plate number 7PT914. Police consider Molly Linhardt to be an "endangered missing juvenile."