Deputy rescues 13-year-old Fla. girl from hotel room with man she met on Snapchat
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) - A 13-year-old Florida girl is now safe after a sheriff’s deputy spent hours tracking down the man who allegedly took her to a motel for sex.
Deputy Royce James spent hours, with limited information, tracking down 22-year-old Tyler Thompson. The suspect was allegedly in the company of a missing 13-year-old girl from Oak Hill, Florida, who investigators say met Thompson on Snapchat.
After the teenager was reported missing Thursday by her grandmother, James began investigating. A friend of the victim told him she was supposed to be picked up at a Dollar General by the suspect, whose name was reported to begin with a T, possibly Tyler, and was said to be from Orlando.
The friend said the pair were then going to a motel, so James went from one motel to another, showing the missing girl’s photo and looking at check-ins. Finally, he found a possible match at an Edgewater motel.
When James entered the motel room, the missing teen ran into his arms and gave him a hug, according to officials. He then comforted the distraught girl, who claimed Thompson had sex with her, before calling for backup.
“When she saw I was a deputy, she came running to me and went into my left arm,” James said. “She was thanking me for finding her, thanking me for saving her and getting her out of that situation. She wouldn’t leave my side the duration of my shift.”
The victim asked James to stay with her while she was medically cleared and interviewed. Afterward, the deputy reunited her with her family.
James says he’s happy he was able to find the girl and feels angry at the suspect.
Thompson was taken into custody on charges of interference with child custody and traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child, officials say. He was released from jail Friday night after posting $15,000 bail.
Additional charges are pending.
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