A startling video captured the moment that a missing 13-year-old girl rushed to hug a deputy who rescued her from an alleged online predator.
The incident unfolded Thursday at the All Suite Motel in Edgewater, Florida.
The grandmother of the girl called police after she failed to arrive home in Oak Hill from school and didn’t go to a basketball game she had planned to attend.
Deputy Royce James spoke to a friend of the girl who told him that she had planned to go to a motel with someone she had met online. The friend said that the man’s name started with a T, possibly Tyler, might have been from Orlando, and that the girl might have met him at the Dollar General store in Oak Hill.
Deputy James was able to find surveillance images of the victim at the store, and an employee said that she had been waiting for someone outside the store.
When James searched the motels nearby, he eventually found a guest named Tyler from Orlando who had checked in that day.
When deputies knocked on the door, video captured the girl running to hug Deputy James.
The girl asked for James to stay with her while she went for evaluation at a local Department of Children and Families facility, and he remained with her. She was returned to her family after the evaluation.
Tyler Thompson, 22, was charged with interference with child custody and also with traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child.
He was released on $15,000 bond, but authorities say further charges against him are pending.
Here’s the harrowing video of the incredible rescue:
Volusia deputy rescues missing girl at motel: 2/18/21