A Gainesville man is accused of driving a local missing teen to the Knoxville area and leaving him there, according to authorities.
George Steven Barnes, 46, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with felony interference with custody after allegedly transporting 16-year-old Ryan Haley across state lines into Tennessee, said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater.
Haley was reported missing on March 21, and his body was found 10 days later in a wooded area south of Knoxville, Tenn., Rainwater said.
Rainwater said there is no evidence Barnes had anything to do with Haley’s death and no evidence yet of foul play.
He said Barnes was charged solely with transporting a minor across state lines without a parent’s permission.
“At this point we are convinced that (Haley) convinced the uncle of his friend to take him up to Knoxville so that he could get away for a while,” Rainwater said.
Barnes has been booked into the Forsyth County jail. As of press time, he is being held under a bond of $27,630.
Rainwater said Haley was found by searchers in a mountainous wooded area south of Knoxville. He said they can not confirm how the teen died.
According to the obituary, Haley was an 11th-grader at Mountain Education Charter School and “loved skateboarding, the outdoors, hiking, animals and hanging out with his friends.”
Services for Haley will be held Friday at 3 p.m. in the chapel of Ingram Funeral Home in Cumming.
In lieu of flowers, Haley’s obituary stated donations may be made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or to the Forsyth County Humane Society.