Steven Sheerer, the 25-year-old man found by police Thursday with Rosie O’Donnell’s missing 17-year-old daughter, was arrested in New Jersey on Friday.
O’Donnell took to her official website August 11 to ask the public for help in finding Chelsea O’Donnell, who disappeared in the Nyack area of New York on Tuesday, August 11.
“Chelsea, like millions of people, lives with mental illness,” a spokeswoman for the O’Donnell family told CNN. “It has been a difficult road for Chelsea and her family and they just want her back safe.”
During a search for the teen, officers retrieved Chelsea’s cell phone with consent from Rosie, according to E! News. The device reportedly contained “evidence of inappropriate communications over the last several weeks” between Sheerer, an alleged heroin dealer she met on Tinder, and Chelsea.
Police found Chelsea safe in the attic of Sheerer’s mother’s New Jersey home Thursday, after tracking her cell phone.
A source said Thursday, “She is 17 and he is an [alleged] drug dealer, they met online, on Tinder. Chelsea is mentally ill, it is a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Sheerer has multiple drug convictions on his record, and the officer who found Chelsea told the media there was no evidence of any sexual contact between Sheerer and Chelsea, and no crime had been committed.
Despite the initial statement from police, Sheerer was arrested at his home Friday. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the arrest Friday, saying Sheerer faces charges of 3rd Degree Distribution of Obscenity to a Minor and 3rd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
He is currently being held on $40,000 bail in Ocean County Jail, and could face up to five years in New Jersey state prison for each count if he is convicted.