Florida Sheriff's Deputy Finds Missing 13-Year-Old at Motel With Older Man She Met Online

A Volusia Sheriff’s Department deputy rescued a 13-year-old girl from a motel in Edgewater, Florida, on February 18. She was picked up after school by a man she met online, the department said.

The sheriff said clues gathered from the girl’s friends and security camera footage from businesses near her school led Deputy Royce James to search local motels until he found the child and a man identified as Tyler Thompson, 22. The girl was found unharmed and taken for evaluation before being returned to her family, the department said.

“When Deputy Royce James entered the doorway of the room at the All Suite Motel … the girl ran into his arms and gave him a hug,” the department said.

Thompson has been charged with “interference with child custody” and “traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child,” and was released from jail on February 19 on $15,000 bond. Credit: Volusia Sheriff via Storyful

Video Transcript

- Basically, I'm missing-- a juvenile left school and possibly was picked up by a guy here. I'm kind of wanting to get an idea of who he is, and--

- Around what time am I gonna look for?

- I'm looking at today from-- school gets at around 3:15ish, so I'm thinking 3:00 to 3:30.

- I mean, is that, like, a super, super recent picture, though?

- She says she looks pretty much like this. It looks pretty close to her. Let's see if she's--

- Yeah, I can see. Hold on. Let me-- if there's any other angles of her, then we can get a better idea.

- Hello.

- Hi, how are you doing?

- Hey, so my name's Deputy James. I'm wondering if a juvenile and another person checked in here earlier today.

- I haven't had--

- Have you seen that-- her? No, she would have been here with an unknown probably male.

Hello.

- Hi there.

- Hi, how are you?

- OK.

- I'm looking for a juvenile that-- looks to be-- ran away from home today.

- OK.

- And we have information she may have checked into a local hotel with an adult. This is what she looks like. Any check-ins today?

- Only one check-in before I came in.

- I'm investigating a runaway juvenile--

- OK.

- --that supposedly checked into a local hotel--

- OK.

- --today with an adult, most likely. I don't know what he looks like or anything. This is what she looks like.

- All right. Someone checked in earlier when I wasn't here, so let me check.

- Oh, perfect. OK.

- Do you a name to that, a last name?

- Yeah. Well, she's only 13, so I don't know the person she's with. So it would have been whoever she's with. Yeah, she doesn't even have an ID. She's, again, only 13.

[RADIO STATIC]

- Do you know who-- if she's with an older person or if you have no idea?

- Idea of the person she's with? No clue.

- Well, check out this-- this person that checked in today.

- Ooh, where's this guy? I think this is him. They said his name started with a T, possibly Tyler.

[KNOCK ON DOOR]

Front office. Anybody inside? We need to come in for a second.

Sheriff's office. Back up. Have a seat on the couch. Where's [MUTED]?

- She's inside.

- What's up, sweetheart? Sheriff's office. Get Pappy up here. Go in the bedroom and wait for me for a second.

- How old are you? How old are you?

[RADIO CHATTER]

- Just wait in there for me, sweetheart, OK? Are you OK? Do you need any atten-- are you hurt at all? You're not hurt at all?

- My stomach hurts.

- Your stomach hurts? OK. We're gonna be right with you, OK?

[RADIO STATIC]

Yeah, you [MUTED] up. How old are you? If I ask you that question again, I'mma lose my [MUTED] mind. How old are you?

- I'm 22, officer.

- Oh, you [MUTED] up. Yeah, you [MUTED] up real good.

- I'm very fucked up.

[RADIO CHATTER]

- Yes, I am. I found him.

- 10-4. How old is he?

- Too old.

- All right, I'm on the way.

- Copy. You sure you're OK, sweetheart? OK.