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Man in custody in case of missing Medfield girl

Brittany Thompson, 17, went missing Monday.

Brittany Thompson, 17, went missing Monday.

MEDFIELD — Federal authorities placed a man in custody Thursday in connection with the disappearance this week of a Medfield teen, who was discovered walking unharmed earlier in the day in Coventry, R.I.

The man, whom police would not identify, is scheduled to appear Friday before US District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan in Providence. Authorities would not disclose why the man had been placed in custody or what charges he faces.

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Officials also would not say whether the person in custody is the same man the teen was walking with when she was found Thursday.

Brittany Thompson, 17, was spotted walking with a man at 6:48 a.m. Thursday by a passerby who recognized them from news reports, Coventry police said. The passerby contacted police, who responded to the scene and took the pair voluntarily to the Coventry station for questioning.

The girl was seen leaving the Medfield Public Library about 4:15 p.m. Monday with a young, heavy-set man, who authorities suspect communicated with her through the Internet. She appeared to leave willingly, according to police, who did not treat the case as an abduction.

Authorities would not confirm whether the person placed in custody is the same man seen in surveillance images at the library.

Maureen Thompson, Brittany’s mother, said this week that her daughter is “not emotionally a 17-year-old” and finds it easier to chat with people on the Internet than making friends. Thompson’s parents drove to Coventry, about 50 miles away, after learning their daughter had been found.

“We’re going to be interested to find out if any crimes occurred up here,” said Medfield Police Chief Robert Meaney.

In an interview with Providence station WJAR-TV Channel 10, Michael Thompson, Brittany’s father, said his daughter “seems to be in very good condition, very good spirits. She’s doing well.”

Coventry police were being assisted by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Massachusetts State Police, and the West Greenwich, R.I., police.

The discovery of the pair ended an agonizing three days in Medfield, where residents had been shaken by surveillance images that showed Thompson leaving the library with a man wearing a black T-shirt that read “Sons of Anarchy” and “Fear the Reaper.”

The two appeared to know each other, Meaney told reporters. Authorities said they assume the pair arranged to meet at the library.

At Thompson’s home, neighbors and family friends brought flowers, balloons, and other tokens of support throughout Thursday.

Meaney said Thompson’s discovery is a relief for authorities.

“That’s the key part,” he said. “We’ve located her. Her parents are with her, and they can go through the next stages in the process.”

Part of that process will be to reconstruct how Thompson met the man and what transpired afterward.

Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at macquarrie@globe.com.
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