A missing Texas child was found locked in a North Carolina shed Friday, and her alleged abductor was taken into custody, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office reported.
“We knew the risks, and we talked with her about them,” the child’s mother, Esthela, told WFAA in an interview, adding that she was heartbroken and scared for her child’s life. “But it still happened. It was something awful,” she added. “It was stressful and scary.”
Missing since March 1 from her Dallas-area home, the 13-year-old girl was found nearly 1,100 miles from home in Lexington, North Carolina. She was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and then transported back to Texas. Authorities say she did not appear to have any physical injuries.
Friday, police arrested 34-year-old Jorge Ivan Santos Camacho in connection with the case. Camacho is charged with child abduction, felonious restraint, human trafficking, indecent liberties, and two counts each of statutory rape of a child and statutory sex with a child. All are felonies. Authorities say additional charges are pending.
Camacho is being held on a $1.2 million bond. If convicted, he faces life without parole, WXII reported.
Camacho was smiling as a judge read his charges Monday, the outlet also reported.
A special agent with the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force contacted the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office about the missing girl Friday evening.
The Dallas Police Department, assisted by the FBI, had been investigating the case of the missing girl and discovered that she had been communicating with an adult male through a social media chat platform. The content of the chat was “consistent with grooming and enticement,” authorities also said.
Investigators reportedly nabbed Camacho after video cameras near the child’s Texas home captured a vehicle that was registered to an address in Davidson County, North Carolina.
DCSO, assisted by FBI agents from the Greensboro Field Office, located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop as the owner was leaving the registered address. They located the girl in a locked outbuilding on the property in Lexington, North Carolina.
“This is how kids are sold into human trafficking,” Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons said during a press conference.
“What we are teaching our kids … it scares me. It scares me even more so that we have to have classes to teach our kids to be careful with social media,” he also said.
“It’s a crying shame. We need to get serious as adults and as parents and guardians. … We’re doing our part. I’m pleading with you to do your part.”
“Our message is going to be, please help us out. I’m very thankful. I thank God that we were able to find this young girl. It may not be that case forever, and what these children must go through, they don’t think, who they’re talking to.”
Watch WFAA’s coverage below.
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