An 11-year-old girl from Florida who was reported missing has been found at the home of a 22-year-old man she referred to as her “boyfriend,” according to authorities, who arrested the alleged pervert for sexual abuse of a minor.
The young girl was said to be found at the Tampa residence of Luis Alberto Encarnacion a day after an Amber Alert was circulated in a scramble to safely locate her, according to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco at a press conference.
“There is no logical sense for a 22-year-old man to be with an 11-year-old child unless there were horrific things that were going to continue or go on in that place,” Nocco emphasized.
When the child was reported missing, authorities said they feared the people she was with were putting her in a position for human trafficking. Some initial information from a supposed message the girl sent friends indicated she was going to travel to Georgia, but that turned out to be false when the young girl was found to have not crossed state lines.
Encarnacion is now charged with victimizing the underage girl, who had already been forced to endure “numerous adverse childhood experiences,” including growing up with an absent father and a mother who is currently behind bars, Nocco said.
“Her mom is in county jail. Her dad is nowhere in the picture,” Nocco said.
“In her mind, she thought Luis was her boyfriend,” Nocco added. “We all know that’s not real … What’s real is Luis acted like a predator on this little child. She has gone from one adverse childhood experience to another … She is looking for that stability, that rock, love, that caring nature that most kids are given in life. In her world, she thought that this is the one person who really loved her, but in reality this is the predator that was going to use her.”
The minor, whose name Censored.tv and some other outlets have omitted due to her age, is suspected of first making contact with Encarnacion on a social media platform, according to Nocco.
Two additional suspects whom authorities named as 17-year-old Reginald Clark of Jacksonville and 19-year-old Jonathon MacGregor of Clearwater were said to have been spotted in CCTV footage retrieving the girl from a local 7-Eleven, which was noted to be very close to the girl’s school, Click Orlando reported.
The two men are now charged with interfering with child custody, according to the outlet. No further details have been given regarding their possible connection to Encarnacion.
Encarnacion is now facing charges of one count of concealing the location of a child, one count of unlawful use of a communication device, two counts of lewd or lascivious battery, and two counts of sexual battery against a victim under age 12.
Upon Encarnacion’s arrest, he is said to have confessed to the crimes he stands accused of, according to authorities.
Sheriff Nocco emphasized his concern for the 11-year-old’s future in the press conference: “this is a tragic story with a good ending, and we have to continue that good ending.”
The authorities stated that the girl is not in the custody of parents or any other family member. Officials say the next critical step is getting the minor the resources she needs, along with the help she needs.
“She needs intensive care, she needs intensive help,” Nocco said.
He also encouraged parents to speak to their kids about human trafficking issues to help prevent abductions like this in the future.