Runaway Ohio Mom Tiffany Tehan: 'I Was Selfish'

Before massive manhunt, Tiffany Tehan, thought "no one would really miss me."

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 20, 2010, 4:25 PM

April 29, 2010— -- 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.