Warning for parents: 2nd Orlando girl lured away via online relationship in 1 month
14-year-old girl taken to Las Vegas; 11-year-old taken to Georgia
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando authorities are warning parents to monitor their children's social media accounts after a second girl was lured away by an online relationship in less than a month.
The 14-year-old girl was reported missing March 14 and found the next day in Las Vegas, officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.
Detectives said the girl left her Orlando home March 14 and left a note saying she was going to hurt herself.
The teen's friends at Union Park Middle School gave deputies information that authorities said was instrumental in finding the girl. Her friends told deputies that the 14-year-old recently met someone on Snapchat and and had plans to meet him soon.
The girl was found in Las Vegas on March 15 with 20-year-old Alana Baker.
Sex Crimes investigator Sgt. Brandon Ragan said Baker was communicating with the victim through social media. Ragan said the suspect flew from Las Vegas to Orlando, where she met with the victim and they flew back to Las Vegas together.
Detectives said they believe the woman had been talking with the victim online for awhile, but are unsure if she was posing as a man.
"We believe she wanted to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with the child, but (there is) no reason right now to believe she wanted to traffic her," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
Baker is charged with kidnapping, lewd and lascivious conduct and traveling to meet a minor. She was extradited Monday night to Orange County, where the charges originate. She then bonded out Tuesday night, according to Orange County Jail officials.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office continues working with Orlando police and Las Vegas Metro Police Department on the investigation.
At the time of the incident, the teen was reported to be in good condition, but had been admitted to a mental health facility in Las Vegas for evaluation.
"This is really another cautionary tale here that has resolved in the best outcome we could have hoped for, because we did find the child alive," Demings said.
The investigation is ongoing, however, and authorities do not believe there are other victims at this time.
In February, an 11-year-old girl was lured from Orlando by a man posing as a teenage girl online playing Minecraft, officials said. She was later found in a Georgia hotel room.
While the two cases are unrelated, the Sheriff's Office is warning parents to keep an eye out for red flags on their children's social media accounts and other online activities.
"The most important thing is parental involvement, that’s where it starts," Capt. Torres said. "The time is now. We don’t want anyone asking, 'What if?'"
Parents and guardians can visit OCSO.com to find resources and learn about apps that will help them see who their children are talking to online. Torres also encouraged parents to speak with school resource officers if they have concerns.
"Parents often feel their intruding on their kids’ privacy, but there's no privacy on the internet," Torres said.
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