An 11-year-old Florida girl who went missing Monday was found at the home of a 22-year-old man she later described as her “boyfriend,” who is now facing multiple charges of child sex abuse, investigators said.
The girl was found early Tuesday at the Tampa home of Luis Alberto Encarnacion following an Amber Alert, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters at a news conference.
Encarnacion was arrested on multiple child sex abuse charges, including one count of concealing the location of a minor, one count of unlawful use of a two-way communication device, two counts of lewd or lascivious battery, and two counts of sexual battery against a victim under 12 years of age.
“There is no logical sense for a 22-year-old man to be with an 11-year-old child unless there was horrific things that were going to continue or go on in that place,” Nocco said.
Nocco said that detectives believe the girl and Encarnacion met through social media.
“In her mind, she thought Luis was her boyfriend,” the sheriff said. “We all know that’s not real … What’s real is Luis acted like a predator on this little child.”
Investigators believed the girl was looking for a stable relationship in her life, which Nocco said was “full of numerous adverse childhood experiences” when she met Encarnacion.
“Her mom is in county jail. Her dad is nowhere in the picture,” Nocco said. “She has gone from one adverse childhood experience to another … She is looking for that stability, that rock, love, that caring nature that most kids are given in life.”
Nocco urged the community to refrain from making judgments against the girl in comments on social media.
“There’s young children in our community that need help,” the sheriff said. “We have to defend this young girl. Putting her down does nothing to help us.”
After he was taken into custody, Encarnacion allegedly admitted to the offenses to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Two other men seen in surveillance video footage with the girl were also facing pending charges, officials said.
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