A missing 15-year-old Texas girl whose parents believed went to a church camp in Florida has been rescued from an armed felon who held her captive in his vacation rental home for several days, according to reports.
The teen from Dilley, Texas, boarded a flight to travel to a supposed all-inclusive retreat in Florida, but after not hearing from her for days, the girl’s parents notified police, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said in a statement.
Her phone was tracked to an address on Ohara Drive in Port Charlotte, where deputies knocked on the door on Friday, police said. They noticed a man running to a back room after he refused their commands to open the door.
The deputies identified the owner of a white Buick in the driveway as Vincent Joseph Robusto, 38, a convicted felon from of Georgia, according to cops.
Police reached the homeowner, who was able to contact the renter and persuade him to come to the front door along with the girl, they said.
“While speaking with the juvenile, members learned that she was attempting to open the door but was held back by Robusto and told to stay quiet,” police said in a statement.
“She also advised that she remembered getting off a plane in Fort Myers and then walking down a street where she was greeted by Robusto. The two returned to the Ohara residence where they had dinner and the juvenile was provided a vape pen with an unknown substance,” the sheriff’s office added.
Investigators determined that the girl had not been registered to attend the church camp and never showed up there.
“It was also discovered through friends of the juvenile that the 15-year-old had been communicating with an older man via social media apps,” police said.
Robusto was found to be in possession of a handgun with eight rounds of ammunition, officials said.
He was hit with multiple charges, including false imprisonment of a person against their will, interference with custody of minor, possession of firearm ammunition or weapon by a convicted felon and drug paraphernalia delivery to a minor.
It is unclear when she boarded the flight to Florida and how many days she was held captive exactly.
The suspect was being held at the Charlotte County jail with bond set at $325,000.
Robusto previously served time in a Georgia prison for charges including theft, carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated assault and aggravated battery, Fox 5 Atlanta reported, citing the Georgia Department of Corrections.
Jamie Macncham-Case, who lives next door to where the girl was held, called the incident “really scary.”
“I’m glad that they were able to catch her or to find her right away, but it’s scary that someone coming from another state to just pick up a teenager and go to some random house,” Macncham-Case told WINK.
“It’s scary to know just living next door. I had no idea what’s going on in the house next to me,” she added.