The Ballantyne teen that went missing a year ago from her parents home was being held prisoner by a Georgia man in what is described as a quiet middle class neighborhood, authorities say.
Michael Ren Wysolovski, 31, of Duluth in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is charged in the case, and 17-year-old Hailey Burns is now home and well, according to the FBI. Family members said Burns has Asperger Syndrome.
Neighbors in Duluth are telling news outlets there that they never imagined Wysolovski had a teen hidden in his well kept two-story home on Seneca Trail.
"Well, first of all, it’s heartbreaking,” neighbor Kerry Fetter told WSB-TV in Atlanta. “It was very shocking to know that in our neighborhood. It’s just not right.”
Fetter said she saw Wysolovski only once since living in the Duluth neighborhood.
Another neighbor told the station he saw the teen unloading groceries, and Burns waved back to say hello. He said he had no clue she was being held captive. “I thought nobody was living there actually because everything was closed up, the drapes, the blinds," the neighbor told WSB, not identifying himself.
TV station Fox 5 in Atlanta reports Wysolovski bought the home in Duluth on April 14, 2017, and that some people imagined he and the teen kept to themselves because they were “just a quiet couple.”
“It makes me sick to my stomach, actually that someone could do that," Jennifer Elmore told Fox 5. She lives next door to the home.
“This is Duluth. I mean, nothing bad—you never hear about anything bad happening, but I guess things can happen anywhere and it's – I don't know – it's surreal. I don't really know how to feel about it, except I'm glad that she's safe now," neighbor Jennifer Cabrera told Fox 5.
The FBI was offering a $15,000 for information leading to Burns’ whereabouts, and media outlets are reporting the tipster came from an unlikely place: Romania.
The girl’s mother, Shaunna Burns, told media outlets that her daughter met a Romanian woman online and told her she was missing. The teen sent the stranger a picture from the window, her mother told Charlotte TV station WSOC.
Burns’ parents said the tipster reached out to them and within five hours, investigators had found her, WSOC reported.
“After a night of sleuthing and driving to Georgia our sweet baby is coming home with us,” Shaunna Burns posted on Facebook.
“We found my starlight and after a brief hospital stay she will return to her home. It is a blessing from God. Please pray for our family as we work to help Hailey feel how much she has been missed. Thank you to all that have stood with us through this difficult time.”
A Special Agent in Charlotte received information that Hailey Burns may be at a home in the Atlanta area, reported the FBI on Sunday.
FBI Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue their investigation into Hailey’s disappearance and will be working closely with FBI Atlanta and the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Michael Ren Wysolovski was charged with false imprisonment, sodomy/aggravated sodomy, interference with custody and cruelty to children involving first-degree deprivation, reports the Observer’s news partner WBTV.
WSOC reports he went before a judge Monday and was given a court-appointed attorney. A bond was not set for Wysolovski, reported the station.
In 2016, Burns' father said she left a diary behind that detailed a plan to run away with a 32-year-old man she met online, reported WBTV.
“He gradually wormed his way into her good graces, he coerced her into listening to him and not following our directions and the next thing I knew my daughter wasn’t communicating with me,” her father told the station.