The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida was notified Thursday morning of a missing 16-year-old girl. Her parents told police that they had previously taken away all her electronic devices, due to issues with her messaging unknown people.
Detectives discovered several people with whom the girl had communicated via a cell phone she obtained without her parents’ knowledge. Evidence was found of communications between the victim and John Rush, 46, on the phone. The man planned to pick her up on May 28 and take her back to his home in Pacific, Mo.
Security footage from the girl’s neighborhood showed Rush entering and leaving her neighborhood around 5:40 a.m. May 28.
PCSO detectives obtained a warrant for Rush’s arrest for Interference with Child Custody (F-3), and made contact with law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. Around 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 28th, Rush’s vehicle was stopped heading westbound on Interstate 24 in McCracken County, Kentucky, by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was located safe inside the vehicle.
Rush is facing kidnapping charges by Kentucky State Police. Deputies found a box in his vehicle containing several sex toys. Rush told detectives he has been communicating with the victim for three weeks, he is aware she is 16-years-old, he was not planning on taking her back home, but he was planning on letting her parents know that she is ok.
“John Rush is one very scary example of why we work around the clock to protect the innocent, and why we warn parents of the dangers of the Internet. This man drove all the way from Missouri to take this child, whom he had met and groomed online, and to have sex with her. He told her that May 28th was going to be a special day – well it certainly was a special day for us, because we got to put a child predator behind bars,” said PCSO Sheriff Grady Judd.
The victim’s parents are enroute to Kentucky to be reunited with their daughter. Rush will be held in the McCracken County Jail and will be extradited to Polk County at a later date.