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Police find missing teen 'out of it' in Kokomo man's home

Prosecutors charged 53-year-old Michael Horne with promotion of child sex trafficking.

KOKOMO, Ind. — Kokomo police arrested a 53-year-old man for child sex trafficking.

On Sunday, March 19, another Indiana police department contacted the Kokomo Police Department about a 14-year-old boy who was recently reported missing.

According to an arrest report, security cameras showed a car, registered to 53-year-old Michael E. Horne, of Kokomo, coming and leaving the city where they teen was reported missing.

The arrest report says police went to Horne's home in the 4000 block of Independence Drive, near West Alto and South Park roads, to speak with him about why he might have been in that city.

Horne allegedly told police he went there to see a friend named Angela, but he did not have a phone number for her.

According to an arrest report, Horne let police search his home, where police said they found the missing teen near a bathroom door and "appeared to be very lethargic and out of it." Police also said the teen appeared to have hickeys on his neck.

Credit: Kokomo Police Department
Michael Horne, 53, of Kokomo.

Police took the boy to a hospital to be evaluated, while Horne agreed to go to the police station to be interviewed.

According to the arrest report, Horne told police he went to the city for "no particular reason" and saw the teen at a gas station, who asked for a place to stay that night.

The arrest report says Horne, who denied communicating with the teen prior to their meeting that day, told police he let the teen stay in his bed while he slept in the living room.

When police asked Horne if there would be any reason for his DNA to be present on the teen's body, the arrest report says Horne responded, "Well..." before pausing and then requesting a lawyer.

While at the hospital, the teen told detectives he did not have hickeys on his neck the night before and did not know how he got them.

Police got search warrants for Horne's home, car, phone and an oral swab. The arrest report says while police searched Horne's phone, they found photos of Horne and the teen together in Horne's car, as well as multiple selfies, including one of Horne's genitals.

The arrest report says surveillance footage shows Horne's car in front of and behind the teen's home on the day he went missing.

Prosecutors charged Horne with promotion of child sex trafficking. Horne's initial court hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at 12:30 p.m. in Howard County.

The Kokomo Police Department Uniformed Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Section and Tell City Police Department investigators assisted in the investigation.

Kokomo Police remind parents to keep a close eye on their child’s phone and social media accounts.  

“It’s really critical what they are doing on their phones. The parents need to know. We don’t know if it would’ve stopped this situation or not, but it can’t hurt, and it has helped us on numerous occasions,” Capt. Scott Purtee said.  

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Det. Austin Bailey at 765-456-7280 or abailey@cityofkokomo.org. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

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