In this undated photo provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in Catskill, N.Y., Michaelann Goodrich is shown. Goodrich, 32, of Cairo, NY, is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing after police said she posed as a homeless teen and tried to enroll in high school classes. (Greene County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

32-year-old enrolls in U.S. high school as teen

School officials were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless

A 32-year-old woman faces felony charges for posing as a homeless teenager to enrol and attend classes at a high school in the Catskill Mountains, authorities said Friday as they tried to determine her motive.

Michaelann Goodrich presented herself as a 15-year-old to enrol in the Cairo-Durham school district 40 miles (64 kilometres) southwest of Albany last month, School Superintendent Anthony Taibi said Friday. Officials were skeptical of her story when Goodrich enrolled on Dec. 19 under the name “Riley Madison,” but they were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless, Taibi said.

“The regulation exists to ensure that students who are runaway or abducted youth get into an accountable, safe environment as quickly as possible,” Taibi said. “It has worked well, but this situation highlights a vulnerability that exists.”

READ MORE: Homeowner surprised when renter invites homeless camp to B.C. backyard

School officials contacted the sheriff’s office to launch an investigation, but in the meantime, Goodrich rode on a school bus, attended classes and had lunch at school on Dec. 21, before the holiday break, Taibi said.

“We made sure that under no circumstances was she not under the supervision of a staff member,” Taibi said.

Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Joel Rowell said Goodrich, who lives in Cairo with her husband, was charged Dec. 28 with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing. She was released from jail after a court appearance Thursday evening, to await further court action.

The public defender assigned to Goodrich didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: Okanagan teens get eviction notice in forest fort

Rowell said Goodrich and her husband previously lived in California and Washington state and it’s unclear how long they’ve been in Cairo. He said Goodrich has no job or children, but does have a diploma from a high school in California.

In the 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed,” Drew Barrymore plays a journalist who poses as a high school student to gather details for a story. But officials have no idea what Goodrich’s motivation was.

“She didn’t have an explanation,” Rowell said. “That’s why we’re reaching out to parents of kids who were with her in school or on the bus to find out what their interactions were, so we can try to determine her motive.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Vernon man arrested following disturbance

Suspect seen fleeing home, tracked down by Vernon RCMP officers

Updated: Scene cleared after accident near Ellison Lake

An accident near Ellison Lake near Kelowna and Lake Country is causing traffic delays

Vernon dust advisory continues

Dusty conditions are mainly caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated over winter months.

‘The whole city has changed:’ Okanagan woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Penticton resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

Bat signal lights up Vancouver sky for ‘Batwoman’ TV series

The art gallery has been transformed into XX of Gotham City

Trans Mountain court hearing: B.C. says it won’t reject pipelines without cause

Canada says the proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act must be struck down

Okanagan dancers kick up heels for spring

PHOTOS: Spring Fling sees more than 60 converge in Vernon from as far as Okanagan Falls and Salmon Arm

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Prescribed burns to start this month in the Okanagan

The Lower Similkameen Indian Band with partners are starting a multi-year burn on Crater Mountain

New highways maintenance contractor begins work April-May

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. to service Shuswap, North and South Okanagan

Lack of bus service leaving residents stranded

Ministry’s Health Connections solution visits Salmon Arm just twice per week, once west, once south

Most Read