Anne Arundel County police and school officials have thwarted a child abduction across state lines.
Anonymous information related to a middle-school counselor on Sept. 6 detailed a 12-year-old girl's plans to run away from home with a boyfriend in a stolen vehicle. School personnel, including the resource officer, contacted the student's guardian and received permission to access the child's social media account and cellular phone data. Information discovered in those accounts convinced officials the boyfriend was an adult male, who likely knew the age of the child. Investigation of the cellular subscriber records led police to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Tennessee law enforcement contacted the 25-year-old man and confirmed he had been communicating with a 12-year-old girl. During the investigation, Tennessee police also located images of child pornography and are continuing their investigation. Anne Arundel police will not provide additional information about the man. Although no crime was committed in Maryland, police here are confident that they have averted a dangerous, potentially deadly situation.
The student and her family were offered psychological crisis counseling.
The case shows how speaking out and reporting troubling information can prevent a potential tragedy, police said. It also illustrates the dangers inherent with online and electronic communications and affirms the need for parental vigilance in monitoring children's cyber and texting activities.