New Jersey

3 Arrested in Disappearance of New Jersey Girl as Case Takes Stunning Turn

Ashley Combs was reported missing on March 22 after she didn't come home from school

What to Know

  • Three people were arrested in the disappearance of a 17-year-old NJ girl, including her biological father
  • Ashley Combs was reported missing March 22 after she didn't come home from school; investigators thought she was with friends, not in danger
  • They found her six days later with her biological father; police now believe he and 2 others were moving her between homes to hide her

Three people have been arrested in the disappearance of a 17-year-old New Jersey girl, including her biological father, authorities said Thursday. 

Cops in Toms River first got a report Ashley Combs was missing on March 22 when she didn't come home from school. Early in their investigation, detectives determined it was highly likely that Combs was not in danger and was more than likely staying with family or friends in the area, police said. 

Six days after she vanished, she was found with her biological father, Brian Combs, authorities say. Investigators now believe Brian Combs and the two other people charged -- Linda Roszel and Mechelle Combs -- moved the girl between different homes in an effort to hide her location as law enforcement tried to find her.

Police also learned of "concerns about Ashley's home environment" over the course of their probe, Toms River investigators said. Details about those circumstances weren't clear, and Toms River police referred questions to the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency. 

Meanwhile, Brian Combs and Roszel were both charged with obstruction and interference with custody. Mechelle Combs was charged with obstruction; her relationship to the girl wasn't clear. Additional charges are pending further review, investigators said Thursday. 

It wasn't clear if any of the three people arrested had retained attorneys who could comment on the allegations.

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