New court documents paint a disturbing picture of what a 14-year-old girl went through after vanishing from her northwest Indiana home last Thursday.
Investigators said the girl met 20-year-old Ian Smith, of Kansas, online, via an app called KIK.
Around 11 p.m. Thursday, authorities said Smith picked the girl up from her home in rural, unincorporated Lake County.
He then drove her to an apartment complex in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the FBI, leaving her at a residence with two other men before returning to Kansas.
The Lake County Sheriff’s office said Smith was arrested in Derby, Kansas, on Tuesday and, during an interview with federal agents, identified the address where he left the girl.
Smith was charged with child pornography in Kansas City, Kansas, according to the FBI, and remains in federal custody.
Investigators arrived at the Ohio apartment on Tuesday and discovered that the girl was being held at the residence with two men, identified as 25-year-old Eric Ho and 27-year-old Bryan Otero.
“We knew we had to get in there and we had to get her to safety,” said Detective Ken Mullis, of the Union Township Police Department.
Officers took the girl and arrested both Ho and Otero.
“I turned around and see bulletproof vests, big guns and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, what the hell is going on?’” one resident of the apartment complex told WLWT of the incident. “There was a guy that dressed like a girl and then a guy and they arrested both of them.”
Ho was charged with rape and Otero was charged with complicity to rape, Darren Miller, chief felony assistant prosecutor for Clermont County, Ohio, said Wednesday.
According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, authorities alleged Ho admitted to engaging in sexual conduct with the victim and inflicting physical pain while Otero “observed the act.”
The documents also alleged that Ho, with the assistance of Otero, engaged in sexual conduct with the girl by using force or the threat of force.
The teen was taken to an area hospital for “medical evaluation,” the Lake County Sheriff’s office said in a release, and returned to Indiana on Wednesday.
Police had been searching for the girl since officers were called to her home just before 1 a.m. on Friday.
Her family said it was very out of character for the young honor student to disappear without a word, with some relatives saying early in the investigation that they believed she had been abducted by a man she met online.
“In all her school years she’s done very well,” her uncle said. “This is a good student. Something totally unexpected. Not in her character at all.”
Now that the teen has returned home, the healing can begin – with officials and even her family warning parents to keep a close eye on their children’s online activity.
“These social media applications could pose a huge problem to, especially, a younger juvenile,” Detective Mullis said.
Published 4 hours ago | Updated 3 hours ago