Joseph Mitchell of Abilene, Texas was arrested for allegedly attempting to convince a 13-year-old girl to run away from her Pembroke Pines home so they could go to Canada and “start a new life together.”
Mitchell, 23, faces seven charges, including four counts of using a computer to seduce, solicit or lure a child. He is being held without bond in Broward Main Jail. The press did not say if he has hired an attorney.
According to the arrest report, Mitchell reportedly spent five months talking to the teen via text messages and cellphone calls. He solicited her for nude pictures and repeatedly asked her to prove her love for him, the report said.
“The suspect routinely communicated with who he believed to be a 12-year-old child,” the arrest report said. “The suspect expressed on multiple occasions his endeavors to engage in sexual acts with the child and to unlawfully take the child away from her family to Canada where they would start a new life together.”
The victim’s mother called the police after she became aware of her daughter’s online relationship. Investigators learned that Mitchell had been communicating with the girl since December. He reportedly called her “baby” and she called him “daddy.” He sent her several nude pictures of himself and encouraged her to respond in kind.
Investigators took over communications on the teen’s end. While chatting with an undercover detective, Mitchell allegedly professed his love for the teen and said, “I love how much younger you are than me.” He made plans to pick up the girl from her home on May 4. He told her to take her social security card and birth certificate and steal gas money from her mother, sources allege. He also advised her to write “a runaway note.”
On May 4, Mitchell was arrested for shoplifting in Georgia. Investigators had him transferred to Broward County to face charges for attempting to seduce, solicit, or lure a child.
Another case involving obscene communication between an adult and a child was reported in West Palm Beach last month. Steven Alexander was arrested on May 23 after he purportedly sent sexual texts to an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl.
Alexander, 37, is being charged with obscene communication and child cruelty. He is being held on a $75,000 bond in Palm Beach County Jail. If he manages to post bail, he is forbidden from using the internet or have contact with any minors. It is unclear if he has hired an attorney.
According to the police report, Alexander posted an M4F Craigslist ad that said he was “up for anything.” An undercover detective responded to his ad and started a correspondence with him in March.
The detective told Alexander that she was 14 and he responded with “wow.” He told her that “age is just a number” as long as she could “handle [him] in bed.” He continued chatting with the fake teen even though he knew she was underage.
Alexander reportedly sent the detective several nude pictures and asked her to do the same. When the detective expressed concern over the nature of the pictures he sent her, Alexander told her that she was his “little secret” and she shouldn’t tell anyone or they’d get in trouble.
He was arrested after he asked the teen to meet him. He admitted to sending nude pictures and told investigators that he had a “lapse in judgment,” but he denied wanting to meet the teen for sex.