Tiverton man, 19, charged after missing 13-year-old is found in his basement
TIVERTON, R.I. (WLNE) – The Tiverton Police Department has charged a 19-year-old man with first degree child molestation after a juvenile reported missing in Pennsylvania was found in his basement.
Police arrested William Caldwel Stewart, 19, of High Hill Road in Tiverton on July 7 after Pennsylvania State Police alerted them that a 13-year-old girl might be at his home.
The girl was being sought as a possible runaway and authorities in Pennsylvania reported she had been missing for approximately one week.
Police pinged her phone and said it had been turned off but then abruptly turned on, adding that a friend of the girl provided a Snapchat photo that showed houses in the High Hill Road neighborhood.
According to Pennsylvania authorities, the friend also reported that the girl was being held against her will, but Tiverton police said that remains under investigation.
Officers responded to the home and found Stewart and the girl in the basement, and after speaking with the girl, officers arrested Stewart.
The girl was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for evaluation and was later turned over to the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.
According to police, preliminary investigation revealed that Stewart met the girl online and picked her up at her home in Pennsylvania approximately one week earlier. The two stayed at several locations before arriving in Rhode Island on or about July 4.
“Preliminary investigation further revealed that although other family members were present at the home, there was no evidence that they were aware of the juvenile female’s true age. Officers believe that both Mr. Stewart and the juvenile female misrepresented her age,” a press release from Tiverton Police Capt. Michael Miguel reads.
Stewart was arraigned in Second Division District Court on July 8 and was ordered held without bail.
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