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Missing Teen Located in Lake County, Man Charged with Helping Her Avoid Detection

LEESBURG – A 17-year-old girl who disappeared while walking to church last month has been recovered, but not before taking extreme measures to conceal her whereabouts, along with the help of an adult accomplice.

On May 2nd, family reported Melaina Hardy missing, after she failed to show up for a Wednesday evening church service in Brooksville. Hardy left without her medication, money, clothing, or even her purse, according to one of many posts on social media.

Investigators with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office believed she may have fled to Springhill or St. Petersburg, but it was later determined that Hardy had been staying at a residence in Lake County, with 19-year-old Gregory Allen Mancuso.

Officials learned of Hardy’s whereabouts after she and Mancuso were caught shoplifting at an area Rural King store on June 3rd.

During an interview with Hardy on June 4th, she advised that Mancuso picked her up in Brooksville and then fled to his house in Leesburg, where she stayed the entire month. She also claims that Mancuso helped her conceal her whereabouts, by changing her hair color, smashing her phone, and deactivating social media sites.

Mancuso told Detectives that Hardy wanted to leave because she was being abused at home. Mancuso even researched the internet, in an effort to learn how to go undetected. He was fully aware that authorities were looking for her, say officials.

Mancuso is charged with 1-count of interference with Child Custody and he remains behind bars in Hernando County on a $500 bond.

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Comments
  • Knowing the family I doubt that Melaina was abused in any way. Much healing needed for the entire family.

    Saturday, 16 June 2018, 11:28 am
  • Allie, my bad your cousin meant to say your cousin

    Friday, 15 June 2018, 3:15 pm
  • Allie, if you are truly sisters I will have to give you benefit benefit of a doubt and accept what you said in your post as being the truth however the story does have several odd factors to it it seems to me there’s a lot of pieces missing anyway I wish this young lady well and a bright safe and blessed future

    Friday, 15 June 2018, 3:14 pm
  • Okay y’all. This is my cousin. She was NOT abused. she has a wonderful home life with parents who love her and support her and would do anything for her. I agree with Jerome he was probably her pimp. I wanted her found and I’m so glad she was. So if y’all could just shut up and quit supporting this man that would be wonderful. Thank you

    Friday, 15 June 2018, 7:38 am
    • Yes I agree with you she’s my little sister and she has everything she needs and wants And she was not being abused in any way

      Friday, 15 June 2018, 3:34 pm
  • my son was 16 and ran away with his gf to protect her, we had no troubles i our home, the girl did, but they charged my 16 yr old son with a felony interference with a child when he himself was a child. this was in pa

    Thursday, 14 June 2018, 11:03 pm
  • That charge that he got should not apply in this case. That is for parents who are divorced or members of the divorced parents’ family, that try and hide the child from the other parent. It’s not meant for someone that lets their friend live at their house.

    Thursday, 14 June 2018, 9:24 pm
  • He was probably her pimp

    Thursday, 14 June 2018, 7:24 pm
    • your low IQ opinion has bee noted JEROME and you are by far the lowest rung on the pole

      Thursday, 14 June 2018, 10:58 pm

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