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Neb. man sought in missing teen case

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 26 -- Authorities are looking for a military man from Nebraska who struck up a cyberspace romance with a teenage New York girl who has been missing for a week. Ceara O'Connell vanished last Thursday after being dropped off at a mall near her home in Rochester.

The 14-year-old honor student hasn't been heard from since. Capt. Phil Knight of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Rochester says Thursday that investigators are looking for Brooker Maltais ('mal- TAY'), a 22-year-old airman who has also disappeared. Maltais lives in LaVista, Neb., and is assigned to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. LaVista Police Chief Paul Schultz says Maltais didn't report for duty Monday and hasn't been at his apartment either. Schultz says O'Connell 'is believed to be in Maltais' company.' The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that O'Connell and Maltais had a cyberspace romance. Messages retrieved from the girl's computer and released by her relatives have Maltais saying he wants to marry the teen 'probably a day pretty far off early in the next century.' The newspaper says he also wrote that he could be in Rochester for the week of Christmas. Monroe County police told the paper that the messages were 'affectionate' and did not 'fit the pattern' of a pedophile. ---

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Copyright 1996 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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