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Hunt continues for runaway
Teen may be hiding with boyfriend
Authorities are looking for North Forsyth High School student Kristen Gardner, left, who they believe has run off with her boyfriend, Kevin Black. The 16-year-old was last seen Jan. 4
Anyone with information about Kristen Gardner or Kevin Black can contact the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office at (770) 781-2222. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (770) 888-7308.

The mother of a North Forsyth High School student who ran away with her boyfriend more than a week ago was expected to meet with Lumpkin County authorities Tuesday afternoon to discuss the investigation.

Dina Gardner said her 16-year-old daughter, Kristen, has not been heard from since she sneaked out of the house between midnight and 2 a.m. Jan. 4.

Gardner said she thinks her daughter is with her 17-year-old boyfriend, Kevin Black of Lumpkin County.

"I'm not looking to get anyone in trouble," she said. "I just want Kristen home safe and that's all I care about."
Lumpkin County investigators said Tuesday they think the couple may be staying at an apartment complex in Gainesville.

They have made several attempts to contact the teens at different locations in Lumpkin County, based on information provided by Dina Gardner, but with no luck.

Gardner said the couple was seen Jan. 4 and 5 at a house in Dahlonega.

"So we know they're together," she said. "We've been out putting fliers out and hoping somebody will notice her."

Gardner said her daughter has blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 100 pounds.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office is handling Gardner's disappearance as a runaway case.

Sheriff's Lt. Matt Allen said investigators have received multiple reports that the couple has been seen in various locations outside Forsyth County. Allen said they are working with other jurisdictions.

"Lumpkin County has its own case in relation to (Black's) actions," he said.

Allen said Black could be charged for interference of custody.

"If you knowingly prevent the child from being returned to the custodial parents then that would make it a criminal matter for anybody that was harboring that juvenile," he said.

The Dawson County Sheriff's Office was helping with the case at one point, Lt. Tony Wooten said, but they are no longer working on it.

"On one occasion we received information that she was at a location in Dawson County, but it turned out she was not there," he said.  

Gardner said her daughter was not allowed to see Black, a former North Forsyth student, after he got in trouble at the high school's homecoming last fall.

"We had forbidden her to see him anymore or have contact with him," she said. "They were still having some contact and we found out they had seen each other some without our permission or our knowing about it, so we had really laid down the law to her."

Gardner said she and her husband took their daughter's phone, "which I hate because we don't have that to be able to even track her."

Gardner said Black's family has not been cooperative. She has taken out a warrant against him in Lumpkin County for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

She said the situation has been hard on her entire family, including her 14-year-old daughter who is also a student at North.

"I've just been out during the day putting up fliers and trying to stay busy looking for her," she said. "It's just difficult ... it's been really tough on [the other daughter] I think."

Gardner asked that anyone who has any information about Kristen's whereabouts call local authorities.

Michele Hester of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.