Man who found truck linked to missing Aloha teen: 'I hope everyb - KPTV - FOX 12

Man who found truck linked to missing Aloha teen: 'I hope everybody comes home'

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A truck connected to the search for a missing Aloha teen was found near Forest Park. Investigators released a current photo of  Annieka Vaughan on Monday. (Images: Washington County Sheriff's Office/KPTV) A truck connected to the search for a missing Aloha teen was found near Forest Park. Investigators released a current photo of Annieka Vaughan on Monday. (Images: Washington County Sheriff's Office/KPTV)
Zachary Petersen, photo released by Washington County Sheriff's Office Zachary Petersen, photo released by Washington County Sheriff's Office
Annieka Vaughan, photo released by Washington County Sheriff's Office Annieka Vaughan, photo released by Washington County Sheriff's Office
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It could be a big break in the case of a missing teenager from Aloha: A truck linked to the teen found with her backpack inside.

It was discovered by Jason Pierce.

Monday morning, he was driving along Northwest Cornell Road on the edge of Forest Park when he noticed a white Ford pickup truck parked just off the road.

“The first part of the license plate caught my attention, so I pulled over, pulled up your story again and thought, that’s the truck,” he said, referring to FOX 12's coverage of the case.

Pierce said he remembered a FOX 12 news alert issued last week about the missing teen, 15-year-old Annieka Vaughan, and the man she’s believed to be with, 23-year-old Zachary Petersen from Pasco, Washington.

“They said they might be heading to Astoria, and we were heading to Astoria for the weekend, so I just mentally made a note of the truck,” Pierce said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Petersen is wanted in connection with a criminal case, and may be armed and suicidal.

When he came across the truck Monday, Pierce said the tailpipe was cold.

“That was the first thing I checked while I was calling 911 because if it was warm I was definitely just going to get out of there knowing that this guy was possibly armed,” he added.

Responding officers from the Portland Police Bureau searched the woods nearby, but came up with nothing.

Washington County deputies said additional searches of the area may be pending.

The truck was towed from the scene to be processed for potential evidence in the case, but investigators know there’s already one thing inside they’re interested in: Vaughan’s backpack.

“When I looked in [the truck] I saw the backpack laying on the floor with what I thought were girl-type buttons attached to it,” Pierce told FOX 12. “Then, there was a phone cord that was plugged in and it was almost as if you’re in a hurry getting out of the door, you just kind of throw it.”

For now, there’s still no sign of Vaughan or Petersen – but the discovery of his truck is the first break in the week-old case.

Investigators said Vaughan ran away from her Aloha home on Oct. 30. They released new photos of her Monday that had been taken the night before, on Oct. 29, in hopes that someone recognizes her.

Anyone who sees Vaughan or Petersen, or anything else in the area near where the truck was found that may help in the case, is asked to call investigators right away.

“Just hope for the best, hope it turns out,” Pierce added. “I’m sure the family’s worried to death. They’re probably relieved to know there’s some kind of lead now, but we just – I hope everybody comes home.”

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