A 14-year-old Florida girl missing for five months was returned to her home state after being found in a Springboro park.
The girl, who lives in Orlando and was identified in a Dec. 20 notice by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, was released to Florida authorities on Jan. 29, according to Warren County Juvenile Court records reviewed today by the Dayton Daily News.
The case has been turned over to a human-trafficking task force set up by the FBI and Cincinnati police, according to Springboro Police Detective Terry Dunkel.
According to a search warrant, the girl and a Lebanon man were spotted on Jan. 16 at at Milo Beck Park in Springboro by an off-duty Springboro officer walking his dog. The officer smelled marijuana and contacted a local officer, who detained Pritchett and Lukas Serrano, 23, of Lebanon, the search warrant affidavit said.
The girl told police she was “staying with friends names she did not know and in in hotels,” according to a Springboro police report.
She was charged with possession of and smoking marijuana and held in the detention center until Jan. 29, when she was turned over to the Florida State Attorney’s Juvenile Division, according to court records.
Serrano told police he met the girl through the “Badoo” app.
“The report states Lukas Serrano advises he uses the app to meet girls, and he was looking for somebody to smoke with. Lukas Serrano met (the girl) in Cincinnati and took her to Indiana,” according to the affidavit.
Serrano reportedly told police he took the girl to Indiana after she told him he was fleeing an abusive boyfriend. Serrano said he brought her back to Warren County after she said she was being abused by a person she was visiting in Indiana, according to the search warrant.
The girl’s mother told police she hadn’t seen her daughter since Aug. 22 and suspected a boyfriend with family in Ohio had taken her.
Serrano was scheduled for a 1 p.m. hearing on Wednesday in juvenile court after missing an earlier court date.
Serrano is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His lawyer has entered a not-guilty plea and requested a Spanish interpreter for the hearing.
Serrano’s lawyer and the Florida State Attorney’s Office did not immediately return a request for comment.