Posted on

Internet abduction?

A Marengo man was arrested Sunday on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor after he allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl from Michigan whom he met over the Internet and picked up Friday.
The Michigan State Police notified the Indiana State Police Jasper Post Sunday morning about 11:15 that they believed Harold Atkins, 54, knew of the whereabouts of the Ithaca, Mich., girl.
‘The parents reported her missing, and through (the Michigan State Police’s) investigating, they got into the Internet’ files on the girl’s computer, as well as telephone records, and discovered her two-month relationship with Atkins, said ISP 1st Sgt. Mike Mischler.
He said authorities think Atkins and the girl met in a chat room and sent instant messages to each other. Mischler said it is believed the girl left on her own accord and Atkins did not pose as somebody else.
‘I think he told who he was, and (she told) who she was,’ he said.
Police believe Atkins drove Friday to Michigan, picked up the girl from her residence without her parents’ knowledge, and returned to Marengo, Mischler said.
After being notified by the Michigan police, the ISP went to Atkins’ residence on Stephenson Lane, where they found the girl and Atkins.
Atkins, charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony, was incarcerated at the Crawford County Jail. On Monday, Michigan authorities issued a warrant against Atkins for a felony charge of accosting for immoral purposes. As of Monday, he had not posted a $100,000 (10-percent) bond.
The girl was placed in custody of the Crawford County Office of Family and Children and was expected to be returned to Michigan yesterday, Mischler said.
Mischler said the local ISP district has handled three or four similar Internet crimes within the past few years.
(See related story on page A9 about protecting children from online threats.)

LATEST NEWS