Comedian Rosie O'Donnell's adopted daughter Chelsea, who turned 18 on Monday, left home to live with her biological mother that day.
"Chelsea made a decision when she turned 18 that she wanted to go to her birth mother," O'Donnell's spokeswoman, Cindi Berger, told Newsday in a statement Wednesday. "This was her choice."
TMZ.com had reported earlier in the day that Chelsea O'Donnell, who was the subject of a missing-persons investigation earlier this month until being found safe and returned home, drove with her biological mother, Deanna, to Wisconsin, where she will live for at least the near future.
On Aug. 18, Commack native O'Donnell, 53, who lives with her four other children in South Nyack, posted on her website that police were searching for Chelsea, whom she had last seen on Aug. 11. The comedian and former "View" co-host noted Chelsea was accompanied by a therapy dog and had stopped taking necessary medication, which spokeswoman Berger said was for a mental-health condition.
Chelsea was found that evening by police in Barnegat Township, New Jersey. Lt. Keith Germain of the town's police force told Newsday, "We received a call from the Rockland County Sheriff's Office asking us to check out a couple of residences in town." At one, Officer Nicholas Dapuzzo "made contact with a subject, and . . . found the subject seemed unusually nervous. The officer said he knew she was there and was not leaving without her. And we were able to recover her."
O'Donnell adopted Chelsea in 1997. The comedian adopted son Parker Jaren, 20, in 1995, and son Blake Christopher, 15, with then-partner Kelli Carpenter in 1999. O'Donnell's daughter Vivienne Rose, 12, was born to Carpenter through artificial insemination. O'Donnell and her estranged wife, Michelle Rounds, adopted daughter Dakota, 2, in January 2013.
Barnegat resident Steven Sheerer, 25, was arrested Friday night at his home, The Associated Press reported. Chelsea O'Donnell was found at his Barnegat home.
Sheerer, 25, is accused of having inappropriate online communications with Chelsea O'Donnell. He appeared in New Jersey Superior Court in Toms River on Monday afternoon, but did not enter a plea. He faces charges of child endangerment and distribution of obscenity to a minor. Bail remained at $40,000 cash, but a bail review had been scheduled for Tuesday, according to the AP.
Ocean County prosecutors say he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Sheerer's attorney, Robert Tarver, said he has notified prosecutors that he plans to present evidence that will show his client is not guilty.