Investigators say 38-year-old Andrew Howland brought the girl back to Lancaster County and checked into two separate hotels with her.
LANCASTER, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man was arrested Wednesday night after investigators say he drove to Indiana early Tuesday morning and kidnapped a 13-year-old girl after pursuing her online.
Andrew E. Howland, 38, is charged with kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, statutory sexual assault and indecent assault on a person less than 16 years old. Howland was arraigned early Friday morning and taken to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of over $1 million dollars bail.
Prosecutors say Howland had been speaking to the girl online and planned to bring her back to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to sexually assault her.
Local investigators working with law enforcement in Indiana tracked the pair to a Comfort Inn in Lancaster Wednesday night.
Police say Howland kidnapped the girl from her home in Jackson County, Ind. around 1 a.m. Tuesday, then drove back to Lancaster County where he took her to two separate Comfort Inns.
The girl is in the custody of social services because she had been reported as a runaway to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
“This case is a stark reminder of the dangers children can encounter online,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said. “Social networking platforms can be hunting grounds for predators hoping to contact and victimize children. Police will continue to be as proactive as possible to interrupt this deviant activity.”
A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for December 16.