By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Law enforcement officers and reporters swarmed in and around the Warren County home of Tareq and Michaele Salahi Wednesday amid reports that Michaele Salahi had run away with the lead guitarist of the rock band Journey.
The latest in a line of Salahi forays into the media spotlight began with a phone call by Tareq Salahi to the county Sheriff's Office just before midnight Wednesday. Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron said Wednesday afternoon that Salahi reported that his wife had been missing for six hours and then had telephoned home from an Oregon area code.
Salahi said he was worried because he had expected her to be in Northern Virginia at the time.
A few minutes later, Deputy Mike Glavis reached Michaele Salahi by telephone. In a written statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, McEathron said Glavis concluded she was "calm, was engaged in conversation and assured the deputy that she had left her home with a good friend and was where she wanted to be. Mrs. Salahi advised that she did not want Mr. Salahi to know where she was."
Less than an hour later, the celebrity Web site TMZ reported that Michaele Salahi had "run off" with Neal Schon, the lead guitarist with Journey. TMZ said she was with him in Memphis, where Journey was scheduled to perform.
About two hours later, the episode appeared to end, at least temporarily, after Tareq Salahi huddled with his attorney and a pair of FBI agents inside his home.
The attorney, David Silek, emerged from the home and said the FBI had confirmed that Michaele Salahi was in Tennessee "and she is safe."
"Mr. Salahi is understandably upset," Silek added.
Asked if he was upset because his wife had left him, Silek replied, "He's glad she's safe. He's upset, that's all I can tell you."
Silek also refused to answer questions about why FBI agents spent at least two hours with Salahi after McEathron issued his statement.
McEathron reported that Glavis confirmed he was speaking to Michaele Salahi after recognizing her voice from previous conversations with her.
In another encounter with local law enforcement in 2008, a tow truck driver called police to have the Salahis prosecuted for refusing to turn over their 2006 Audi A8 that he was trying to repossess for his employer.
In a criminal complaint, the tow truck driver, Edward Beal, said Tareq Salahi told his wife to get a gun after Beal informed him that he had come to repossess the car. At that point, Tareq Salahi took Beal's tow truck keys and Beal fled down the driveway out of fear for his safety, according to the complaint.
A charge of petty larceny against Tareq Salahi was later dismissed.
The Salahis made their first splash in the media by working their way inside a White House state dinner in 2009 without an invitation.