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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

DFO allowing at-sea observers again if safe work procedures in place

May 15 fishery notice lays out conditions for allowing at-sea observers onboard amid COVID-19

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read