FRANKLIN, Ind. — A 19-year-old Franklin man is awaiting extradition to Illinois.
That's where Dylan Clark is accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and bringing her back to his parents' Johnson County home. The girl is back safe with her family, but it's not clear why the man and girl were together.
The Johnson County Sheriff's Office was contacted by law enforcement in Vermilion County, Illinois, Sunday morning. They were looking for an 11-year-old girl from Georgetown, Illinois, believed to be with Clark, driving a black Ford Mustang.
Johnson County sheriff’s deputies found the car parked in the driveway of a house on Highland Drive in Franklin. They found Clark and the girl inside. Police say Clark's parents were at the house and they knew the girl was at the house. But they had apparently been misled about who the girl was, where she came from, and her age.
"They had been told something different,” said Maj. Damian Katt, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office investigations commander. “They did not know that this was an 11-year-old female. And I think they believed that she was probably a local gal."
The girl told investigators that she met Clark online and agreed to go with him. She said there was no sexual activity between them. She had a backpack with clothes and makeup, plus a smaller backpack purse with her. She was taken into custody until her family arrived from Illinois.
"I would imagine they're grateful, for one, that their child wasn't ... something didn't go drastically wrong,” said Katt. “At the same time, I know if it was me, and that was one of my children, I'd also be horribly angry."
Clark is held at the Johnson County Jail awaiting extradition. He faces an extradition hearing in Johnson County court Wednesday morning.
13News contacted the Vermilion County State's Attorney's Office in Illinois for more information on the case, but we have not heard back.
In this case, the girl was found safe. Other families are not as fortunate.
"Be diligent and get involved and ask those questions and be proactive, because what you don't want to do is wait until your child's involved in this and we're here now and now we want to be a parent,” said Clark. “The damage, it may be too late."
Johnson County law enforcement has made more than 20 arrests in the past couple years through regular online sting operations, catching predators looking for sexual encounters with underage children.
Police say that parents have every right to be nosy and must monitor their children's online activity. Parents also need to realize that their children are probably more tech savvy than they are.
"This is where parents need to be parents and pay attention to what your kids are doing online and on their computers on their mobile devices,” said Katt. “There are different applications that parents can put on there to monitor what their kids are doing."
Predators are often using catfish social media profiles, like the “anthony_shots” account connected to the murders of two girls in Delphi.
"Some of these people are good at grooming, and they know what to say and they can recognize relatively quickly, as a child's communicating through the internet, what it is that they might be lacking, or how they might be able to entice that child,” said Katt.
Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess believes one arrest of a sexual predator can protect 25 children.