A Miles City schoolteacher was honored by the Montana Department of Justice on Friday for helping to rescue a 17 year-old student who had been abducted by her non-custodial father.

Program Manager for the Montana Amber Alert Program, Jennifer Viets, said Valerie Pachl, a Custer County High School teacher and counselor reacted after hearing that a 17 year-old Native American girl left her foster home on March 7, but never arrived at school.

“Valerie Pachl remembered the girl saying her non-custodial father was threatening to take her, as well as some money that was coming to her,” said Viets. “The girl’s father also voiced plans to force her to work for her grandmother in another state. When the girl went missing, Pachl contacted the ‘Lost and Missing in Indian Country’ website and Pachl information and contact information were shared with the Custer County Sheriff’s Office. Ultimately, the girl was rescued and her non-custodial father was arrested in Oklahoma with charges pending.”

Viets said Pachl was honored at a ceremony in Miles City on Friday.

“Brian Lockerby, our division administrator here at the Montana Department of Justice, presented her with a plaque in appreciation of the critical information she provided,” she said. “Brian Lockerby said ‘It’s people like you who go above and beyond to provide protection. You got involved and made a difference in the life of a young woman’s life, likely destined to grow up in difficult circumstances with little hope for escape.”

Viets said the website for anyone who may wish to become better informed and to get more information is asked to click this link for the Montana Department of Justice.

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