A 22-year-old Florida man allegedly lured a 13-year-old girl to his motel room in Florida, and bodycam footage shows the moment a local deputy confronted the suspect and saved the missing girl on Friday.
Tyler Thompson, 22, was charged with interference with child custody and traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child. According to a news release from the county sheriff’s office, more charges are pending, and Thompson was released after posting $15,000 bail.
The search began around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, after the young girl was reported missing by her grandmother when she didn’t return home from school and wasn’t in attendance at a school basketball game.
Volusia Sheriff’s Deputy Royce James started investigating the report when a friend of the 13-year-old said she was planning to go to a motel with a man she had met online, a news release from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
The friend told the deputy that the adult’s was from Orlando and that his name started with a T, possibly Tyler. She said the man likely picked up her friend at the Oak Hill Dollar General store.
According to authorities, James located the girl on security footage at the Dollar General where an employee told law enforcement that she was waiting for someone to pick her up.
James checked three local motels before finding the pair at All Suite Motel at 335 N. Ridgewood Ave. in Edgewater, where the front desk clerk said Thompson had checked in.
Video of the scene showed Thompson, wearing just shorts, answer the door after James knocked.
“Sheriff’s office,” said James. “Back up. Have a seat on the couch.”
After entering the motel room, the child, who is blurred out in the video, can be seen running up to James, at which point authorities said she hugged him.
“What’s up, sweetheart?” said James. “Sheriff’s office.”
The deputy asked the man his name several times before saying, “You f*cked up, man. If I ask you that question again, I’m going to lose my f*cking mind. How old are you?”
“22,” the suspect replied.
The girl told James her stomach hurt after the deputy asked if she was injured.
“Oh, you f*cked up,” said James. “Yeah, you f*cked up real good.”
Someone over the deputy’s radio asked him how old the suspect was, to which James responded, “Too old.”
Deputy James transported the young girl to a Department of Children and Families facility to be evaluated before taking her home, the sheriff’s department said.