The suspect, Zachary Despain, 36, of Springfield, faces charges of enticing a child for indecent purposes, trafficking a person for labor or sexual servitude, kidnapping, and interference with custody concerning the teen’s disappearance, News Channel 20 reported.
Responding officers said they received a 911 call from the teen, Natasha Brown, just before 7 a.m. on Saturday and found her crying on the steps of the Great Western Railroad Station at 930 East Monroe Street in Springfield, about a block from the police station.
Authorities then transported the alleged victim to Memorial Medical Center for assessment, according to NBC Montana.
According to the minor, she met the suspect online then scheduled to meet up with him. However, the man allegedly proceeded to pick her up in Georgia, taking her to Illinois with him, sparking a four-day search for the 13-year-old.
“We know that she communicated with him online, or via social media, which allowed him to identify where she was in Georgia, and go meet with her, and bring her back to Springfield,” Deputy Chief Joshua Stuenkel of the Springfield Police Department said.
Despain’s vehicle was spotted by police on surveillance footage in the area where the victim was found. Authorities ran the license plate of the car in question and found that Despain had rented it.
Springfield Police worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) to track Despain down about two miles away. A subsequent search of his home was carried out on Sunday morning, leading to his arrest, 13WMAZ noted.
Police took him to the Sangamon County Jail with a bond set at $500,000. District Attorney Tim Vaughn is reportedly seeking Despain’s extradition back to Georgia to face his charges, GBI told the media.
Despain, who is listed as a “sexual predator” in Illinois, has had criminal sex convictions dating back over a decade. He was convicted for aggravated criminal sex abuse of a child 13 to 16 in two separate 2007 court cases, the Illinois State Police confirmed.
Anyone with information concerning the matter is urged to phone the Springfield Police Department at 217.788.8311 or Sangamon/Menard County Crime Stoppers at 217.788.8427.