A soldier from Fort Bragg was arrested for abducting a 12-year-old from her home in eastern North Carolina.
Pvt. James Murdock Peele, 19, was arrested in Fayetteville, charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary, and statutory rape.
According to authorities, Peele is a member of the 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade.
The young girl’s grandmother called authorities after she found her missing from her room. She also found that the window to the girl’s room was open, and a ransom note was left on her bed, according to the AP.
Craven County Sheriff Jerry Monette said the ransom note may have been left to distract police. Peele had known the girl from contact online, but it is not known what platform he used.
“You need to try to be on top with what’s going on with your child’s chat information on computers and also cellphones,” Monette said during a news conference. “We’re living in a generation now where are young people are so much more literate and computer-savvy than the adults are. … It’s totally unsuspecting to the guardians of what was going on here.”
Investigators began looking at Peele because the two were Facebook friends, said Capt. John Whitfield.
Craven County Sheriff’s office received help from agencies in North and South Carolina, the FBI, U.S. Army CID, Secret Service and others.
The girl was located quickly, using cellphone tracking technology, and returned home within seven to eight hours of the time her grandmother reported her disappearance.
Fort Bragg authorities said Peele could be returned to post at some point to face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
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