Runaway Ohio Mom Tiffany Tehan: 'I Was Selfish'

Photo: Runaway Ohio Mom Tiffany Tehan: I Was Selfish
Mother of 1-Year-Old Who Sparked Manhunt Thought No One Would Miss Her: Lets Get in the Car and GoCourtesy Inside Edition
Tiffany Tehan, seen during an interview on the TV show "Inside Edition," said she was being "selfish" when she suddenly disappeared from her husband and 1-year-old daughter to run away with another man -- sparking a nationwide manhunt in the process -- but assumed her husband and daughter would be fine without her.

An Ohio mother said she was being "selfish" when she suddenly slipped away from her husband and 1-year-old daughter to run off with another man -- sparking a nationwide manhunt -- but she assumed they would be fine without her.

"What was going through my head was, 'She's 13 months old, she's got a wonderful father, wonderful grandparents, wonderful aunts and uncles who love her, and they'll take care of her.' But I won't deny it was totally selfish," Tiffany Tehan, 31, told "Inside Edition."

"In hindsight, I wouldn't do this again and I need to make that clear. I regret it. But at the time I honestly thought no one would really miss me that much," Tehan said breaking into tears.

Tehan disappeared Saturday, April 17, leaving behind her husband David and 1-year-old daughter Lexie. The vanishing act triggered a cross-country search until police, acting on a tip from the FBI, found Tehan and a man identified as Tre Hutcherson staying at motel in Miami Beach, Florida. Police, who are calling Hutcherson a person of interest in her disappearance, quickly determined that Tehan was not in danger.

Tehan told "Inside Edition" she left town to start a new life with Hutcherson.

"I didn't want to do anything illegal," Tehan said. "The plan was to get in the car and head down to Florida and start a new life. We had plans to maybe start a business... But I truly thought, 'No one's going to miss me that much. Let's get in the car and go.'"

Deborah Norville, the host of "Inside Edition," said that is the saddest part of the story.

"She honestly didn't think it would matter to anyone if she just vanished out of her life. I think she felt overwhelmed with insignificance," Norville told "GMA."

Tehan thought about taking her daughter, Norville said, but didn't want to trigger an Amber alert.

"They were very careful, they didn't want to do anything illegal and there was a possibility of charges, they wanted to try to not involve law enforcement. They just wanted to get away," Norville said.

According to legal experts, it doesn't appear Tehan did anything illegal.

"You have to say, 'What's the crime?'" family law attorney Michael Kretzmer told "Good Morning America" last week. "[There's] no question that deception was involved, but I think that's going to be something that law enforcement's going to have a tough time, really, proving there was a crime."

Kretzmer said it's possible but unlikely that Tehan will face misdemeanor charges for inciting panic.

"I think from a practical standpoint you have to consider whether the state has a substantial interest in going after these people," he said. "You want to discourage this kind of activity and there should be some culpability for all that occurred. But again, no crime."

No charges have been filed against Tehan or Hutcherson yet. Miami police said it appears no laws were broken. Authorities in Ohio apparently agree. Capt. Scott Anger of Ohio's Xenia Police Division called the incident a "personal, family matter" shortly after Tehan was found.

Tehan and Hutcherson returned to Ohio over the weekend and were spotted at Tehan's parent's home on Sunday, reported ABC News affiliate WKEF in Dayton, Ohio.

Tehan is staying with her parents "to figure out what the next chapter of her life is going to be" while her daughter remains with her father, Norville said.

Husband Forgives Runaway Wife

David Tehan said last week he was angry at Hutcherson but that he "absolutely" forgives his wife. When asked why he forgave her, Tehan said, "I don't know. It's supernatural.

"She may have made some mistakes but everyone does and I can't blame her for any of this... She's a person like anyone else getting through life, and it's not always easy."

Tehan said he wants his wife to come home and work out the problems in their marriage.

"There may be issues to work out, but that's OK," he said. "Issues we can work out."

During a phone call after she was found, his wife asked about Lexie and "told us she missed us," David Tehan said.

Tehan's father, Chuck Tabor, a pastor, became emotional when he heard that his daughter was found unharmed Wednesday night.

"Just to know my little girl is safe is all I needed," Tabor said through tears at a news conference Thursday.

Ever since surveillance footage of Tehan surfaced with Hutcherson on Tuesday, police considered the possibility that Tehan was a runaway and not in danger.

David Tehan told "Good Morning America" last Wednesday the couple was not having marital problems.

"It just seems so completely out of character. I just can't understand or believe it," he said.

Before Tehan was discovered in Miami Beach, her friends said she would never have left her daughter.

"We're trying to leave the details and the speculation to the police," Tracy Staley said earlier last week. "That mother-child bond is unlike anything else."

David Tehan said last week their baby daughter is "coping as well as can be expected," considering how her life has been disrupted since his wife's disappearance.

"If there's anything I could say to Tiffany," he said before she was found, "it would just be that I love you, I miss you and I can't wait to see you again."

Police released images Tuesday taken from a surveillance camera at a convenience store showing Tehan and a bearded man, later identified as Hutcherson. Police say Tehan and the man regularly visited the store together in recent weeks, but her friends and family did not recognize him.

Tehan's husband had last heard from his wife around 11 a.m. Saturday, when she was making rounds at garage sales looking for inexpensive clothing for their daughter.

ABC News' Tomomi Arikawa and Monica Escobedo contributed to this report.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.