AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – A man is facing charges after police found him in a van with a 14-year-old girl who talked to him on Snapchat and ran away from her home in Oakland County to meet him for the first time.
Officials said on Saturday (May 7), they tracked a 14-year-old Pontiac girl to Hawk Woods Park and Campground on Bald Mountain Road in Auburn Hills hours after it was reported that she ran away from home.
The girl’s mother was out of town, and she was being supervised by another person, according to authorities. That person called 911 when the girl left home.
Oakland County deputies went to the picnic area of the campground, where they noticed a white van backed into a parking spot, they said. As they approached the van, they saw the missing girl and Damien Alexander Newman, 27, of Galva, Illinois.
Newman told deputies that he had met the girl about a year ago on Snapchat, authorities said. He told them this was their first face-to-face meeting, according to officials.
Newman was detained, and deputies said they found a large fixed-blade knife on his person. Cellphones from Newman and the girl were confiscated as evidence, police said.
Deputies said they found child pornography and other sexually explicit material on Newman’s cellphone.
He was taken to the Oakland County Jail and arraigned Wednesday on one count of possession of child sexually abusive material, one count of distributing sexually explicit, visual, or verbal material to children, and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
Newman is being held without bond because authorities consider him a potential flight risk.
“It is disgusting and tragic that there are individuals who seek to perpetrate or share sexual violation of children,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “Through good detective work, this individual was caught and will be held to account.”
A probable cause conference is scheduled for May 24, and a preliminary examination is scheduled for May 31.