When 13-year-old Savanna MacMullett disappeared from her Radnor, Pa., home on December 3, police already had a suspect in mind. The night before, police officer Christopher Gluck stopped Ashley Ryan Hareford, 20, on MacMullett’s street, believing him to be suspicious. Hareford, according to Gluck, said he’d met MacMullett online. Gluck called MacMullett’s dad to let him know.
The next day, around 5 p.m., Savanna was gone. Police say she and Hareford spent the night in a wooded area outside the King of Prussia Mall, and the next day boarded a Megabus bound for Washington D.C., where they were stopped by police. Authorities say that throughout the night that they spent outside the mall, Hareford engaged in sexual acts with the Savanna. “She trusted him and he certainly took advantage of her,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. “As I mentioned, he did know that she was a 13-year-old girl. He trusted her and then utilized her to engage in sexual acts upon him and then took advantage of her.” Hareford, police say, had hitchhiked from his hometown of Grottoes, Va., to meet Savanna.
Like many cases of this sort, the relationship between Savanna and Ashley Ryan Hareford played out largely online. They met via a social game app called Party in My Dorm, which is described on its website as “largest online party you’ve seen since moving out of your parents’ basement.” The game, in which players compete for popularity, has a prominent chat feature. The internet was instrumental in finding Savanna as well. After running off with the girl, police say Hareford unabashedly posted a photo of himself in an open-mouthed lip lock with the girl on his Facebook profile. This helped solidify the connection between Savanna’s disappearance and the suspicious young man Officer Gluck had spoken to the previous night.
Hareford had a busy online life. On Facebook, he is listed as “married” and his cover photo reads “I Love You Baby” in a glittery font. He’d been in and out of relationships on Facebook multiple times since establishing a profile in 2007. He also had profiles on the dating websites MeetMe and Datehookup.
Hareford is charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure and criminal use of a communication facility. Bail is set at $1 million. Whelan said Savanna is home with her family: “She’s cooperating. She’s back with her family and we’re optimistic about her recovery.”