A Florida police officer rescued a 13-year-old girl from a 22-year-old man she met online after they were discovered at a motel last week.
The girl’s grandmother told deputies that she hadn’t come home from school as planned and a missing child report was filed at around 6.15pm.
A friend of the girl said she had planned to go to a motel with someone she met online.
“The friend said she thought the man’s name started with a T, possibly Tyler, and that he was from Orlando. She said he may have picked up the victim at the Dollar General store in Oak Hill,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Video released by the Volusia Sheriff’s Office shows Deputy Royce James trying to locate the girl.
Intially James went to the Dollar General to look for security video, and found surveillance images of the victim at the store.
An employee confirmed to James that the girl said she was waiting to be picked up.
“James then started visiting area motels, showing the front desk clerks a photo of the missing girl and searching the day’s check-ins for a match,” authorities said.
At the third motel he checked, the All Suite Motel in Edgewater, James noticed a guest checked in under the name Tyler Thompson, with an Oralndo address.
James went to the man’s room and knocked on the door several times before Thompson finally answered.
When James entered the motel room the girl “ran into his arms and gave him a hug”.
Body cam footage shows 22-year-old Thompson shirtless in the motel room with all the lights off.
“How old are you?” James asks Thompson repeatedly. After the fourth time, he responded: 22.
WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE:
James can be heard saying: “Oh you f***ed up. You f***ed up real good.”
After being rescued, the girl was taken to a local hospital to be medically cleared and interviewed.
Thompson was arrested on a charge of interference with child custody and traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child.
Edgewater Police Department is working with the State Attorney’s Office on potential additional charges in this case.
Thompson was released from the Volusia County Branch Jail on Friday night after posting US$15,000 bail on his current charges.