Teens with ties to Orange County remain on the run after they were found by police in Nevada
Two missing teens from Oregon are believed to be together after they were briefly found by officials in Nevada on Friday, according to law enforcement in the state.
Penny Lyles, 15, and Jonathan Stockle, 18, have been on the run since Nov. 14 from Astoria, Oregon, where they live with Penny Lyle’s father, Ryan Lyles. Jonathan’s parents, Wayne and Jessica Stockle, say the young couple are afraid of Ryan Lyles, who they allege is abusive.
Nevada officials say Penny Lyles escaped the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services in Nevada during a transport.
“These kids are begging for help and nobody is doing anything,” says Wayne Stockle. “If we could get Penny into a safe place, this would be over tomorrow.”
The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office has not substantiated the family’s allegations of abuse against Ryan Lyle. News 12 has attempted to contact them multiple times, but calls have not been returned.
The department wrote on Facebook that Penny Lyles and Jonathan Stockle left mid-November after a “confrontation with family” and that Jonathan Stockle, who is legally an adult, is not in trouble. They wrote on Sunday that the teens, who are considered missing persons, were found out of state on Friday and believed to be together.
News 12 confirmed that couple were pulled over by the Nevada Highway Police in Tonopah, Nevada, and the case was turned over to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, according to a department spokesperson.
“They said Jonathan was free to go but he said he wasn’t going to leave until Penny was in a safe place,” says Wayne Stockle. “In his heart of hearts, he’s doing what’s right.”
Jonathan’s family is from Goshen but now live in Thayer, Missouri. The teens met in school in Missouri when Ryan Lyles temporarily moved there several years ago. Jonathan Stockle then moved to Oregon to live with the Lyles family last July and they attend Knappa High School together. Jonathan Stockle is a junior and Penny Lyles is a sophomore.
The Stockles say since the teens ran away, they were also spotted in Bakersfield, California where Penny Lyle’s paternal grandmother used to live, but left when they couldn’t locate her.
News 12 reached out to Penny Lyle’s grandmother, but she declined to comment.
Jonathan’s family say Ryan Lyles is threatening to hurt Jonathan and their family. They gave News 12 harassing messages he allegedly sent them since the two escaped custody over the weekend. One message read, “I hate that [expletive]. I hope he dies.” Another says, “I hope they shoot his [expletive].”
"He has been harassing our nieces, everybody. I begged this guy to stop making threats the day this started. I begged him over and over," Wayne Stockle says. "He slashed Jonathan’s tires. It's just a nightmare."
The Stockles say they were granted a restraining order against Ryan Lyles from Oregon County Court in Missouri on Monday.
Ryan Lyles spoke with News 12 last week but then said by text to “never to contact him again.” He denied abuse allegations and said the teens left when they found out he planned to confront them about alleged drug use.
“I want my daughter back. There were never any threats,” Ryan Lyles said. “All Penny would say is that I’m scared, but that I’m scared to lose Jonathan, not scared that my dad is going to hurt me.”
In the meantime, an outpouring of support for the couple's safety and well-being continues nationwide.
Several of their former classmates and community members in Missouri attended a rally for them last week and were pictured holding signs that read, “We love you Jonathan and Penny."
The Stockle family has also started a hashtag for the teens #weloveyoujonathanandpenny. They’re posting updates on social media asking them to contact the National Runaway Hotline confidentially for help at www.1800runaway.org.
The Stockles say the couple said they are doing odd jobs for people they meet for money to get by, like raking leaves and moving furniture, but believe they may be living out of Jonathan Stockle’s car.
“We love you guys. Just keep reaching out to somebody for help. Someone will help,” Wayne Stockle says.
Jonathan Stockle is 5 feet, 11 inches, 155 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Penny Lyles is 5 feet, 5 inches, 120 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Authorities say Jonathan Stockle is believed to be driving a gray colored 1998 Toyota Rav4 with an Oregon plate number 547HRL.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact the Clatsop Sheriff’s Office at 503-325-2061.