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Florida teen found stabbed after rescue from sex offender in Louisiana

By Letitia Stein

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A Florida teenager missing for a week was recovering from 10 stab wounds at a Louisiana hospital on Thursday after police rescued her from the truck of a registered sex offender who had led them on a 40-mile (64-km) chase, authorities said.

Ashley Lyon, 16, and Steven Patrick Myers were at a truck stop near Baton Rouge on Wednesday evening when customers recognized them from national media exposure and called police, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa.

Myers, 41, was driving a stolen Chevy pickup truck with no license plate and refused to pull over for local deputies. During the high-speed interstate highway chase that ensued, he rammed four other vehicles in an attempt to create roadblocks to aid his getaway, police said.

Tire-deflating spike strips deployed by police finally disabled the pickup, authorities said. Myers did not stop until the engine caught fire, said Sheriff Brett Stassi in Iberville Parish, Louisiana.

Myers got out of the truck brandishing a knife, yelling at deputies to shoot him, police said. Lyon was found stabbed inside the vehicle.

The Florida teenager, last seen on June 11 at her home outside Tampa, was not abducted, police told a news conference in Tampa. She had planned to leave town with Myers, also from the area, exchanging text messages with him before her departure.

Her father, Roger Lyon, told reporters his daughter had been diagnosed as bipolar and left without her medications.

"It will be a long and arduous healing process," he said. "My daughter is strong. I know she’s strong-willed."

Lyon said his daughter was in serious but stable condition. She had earlier been listed in critical condition.

Myers faces multiple charges in Florida and Louisiana, including attempted murder, unlawful sexual activity with a minor and interference with child custody, police said. He previously was convicted of child molestation charges in Georgia.

Louisiana authorities took Myers into custody and he was being treated in a hospital for what were believed to be two self-inflicted stab wounds and bites from a police dog, law enforcement officials said.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Gunna Dickson and Peter Cooney)

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