UPDATE: Man accused of abducting 12-year-old N.C. girl said they had agreed to run away to get married
The 38-year-old man who was apprehended in Florida Wednesday with a 12-year-old North Carolina girl told investigators that he and the girl had been exchanging text messages and had planned to run away and get married, according to court documents.
The girl, Abigale Lefevers of Newport, N.C., was the subject of Amber Alerts in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
The man she was traveling with, Timothy H. Newman, was arrested Wednesaday without incident at Interstate 95 and Hallandale Beach Boulevard in the Miami area, according to Chief Deputy Ken Raper of the Sheriff’s Office in Carteret County, N.C., which issued the initial Amber Alert.
Newman was wanted on charges of child abduction and driving a stolen car.
According to an affidivat signed by an FBI agent and filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Florida, Newman told authorities he had known the girl since she was five years old. And she admitted she had willingly engaged in an ongoing relationship with Newman that began in July and that the two had been exchanging text messages. She also told investigators she knew he was a sex offender.
A Florida television station on Wednesday reported that Newman was arrested outside a Denny’s restaurant, and it showed video of police cuffing him and escorting the girl away from the red Chrysler Sebring convertible.
“The girl was a little shaken, but she was OK,” Raper said.
The arrest came after somebody reported seeing them in the Coral Gables area about 4:30 p.m., Raper said. An FBI agent helping the sheriff’s office alerted police in Florida, who made the arrest about 6 p.m.
“We’re kind of tickled right now,” Raper said. “They’ve been located and everybody is in custody and everything’s good.”
The girl will be flown back home this morning, with her flight paid for by volunteers, Raper said. Newman then will be brought back to North Carolina to face charges.
The girl was last seen at her home about 10 p.m. Sunday. Her father told deputies she was missing when he woke up around 6:30 a.m. Monday.
The Chrysler that Newman was driving was spotted about 2 a.m. Monday near the South Carolina border, heading south on U.S. Highway 17. Investigators said they thought he was heading to Florida.
Natalie Caula and David MacDougall contributed to this story. Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.