Like so many young people today, the 13-year-old girl in this true crime was into gaming and anime. Her parents homeschooled her. The day she went missing, she walked away from her home carrying her laptop.
One fact that this missing teen had in common with other missing teens was chatting with other ‘gamers’ while in the gaming programs. Unfortunately for this teen, a gamer she chatted with wasn’t who he said he was.
Her friends and family feared the worst. The previous year, a 16-year-old girl from the same apartment complex went missing—later found murdered.
A representative from the local law enforcement agency said regarding this case and similar cases involving minors and the dangers of them using social media platforms,
“We are taxed to the max and can’t go any further.”
The local authorities identified the man after finding disturbing messages between him and the missing teen in her gaming account.
He lived over a thousand miles away from the girl’s home—an approximately 16-hour drive. The local authorities where the man lived received a call from the FBI informing them of the situation. They waited near the man’s property. When he left the property, they pulled him over. During the conversation with the kidnapper, he told the authorities the girl was on his property. They arrested him.
The 34-year-old man had driven to the missing teen’s hometown, picked her up, and drove her back to his place. Once at his home, he locked her in a shed where he raped her. Remember, she was 13. The authorities returned the teen to her family.
An officer associated with the case said about the messages exchanged between the girl and her kidnapper,
“The content of the chat was consistent with grooming and enticement.”
He later pleaded guilty to felony first-degree kidnapping, felony statutory rape and statutory sex offense of a child under 15. A judge sentenced him to almost 30 years in prison.
Compared to the previous missing teen from the same area, this true crime had a better outcome. According to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC), over 359,000 children were reported missing in 2022. Here’s an excellent resource for parents about Online Enticement from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It talks about the Red Flags, Risk Factors, and more. #sexualpredator #onlineenticement
Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, United States FBI, Law & Crime, CBS, Advocate Oak Cliff