Spokane police are crediting two parents with catching an alleged sexual predator when he showed up to kidnap their teenage daughter after the parents realized their daughter was having an online relationship with a man twice her age.
When the couple confiscated their daughter's iPad, it led to information about the next time the suspect was coming to Spokane and when he showed up in their alley in the middle of the night to make off with the girl, her parents were waiting for him instead.
That individual, Jason Richards, knew the girl was just 15, but detectives say he groomed the victim from his home in Federal Way and made several trips to Spokane so he could see her.
"He was very patient and like I said a very slow developing relationship over time and ultimately ending in the abuse situation," Spokane Police Sergeant Justin Lundgren said.
The abuse happened at Spokane hotels where Richards allegedly raped the child, but the young victim thought Richards loved her, especially after he gave her an engagement ring.
Richards even bragged about the engagement on his Facebook profile, though he failed to mention his fiancé was just 15 years old.
"I think it's important to understand that you're dealing with a very manipulative suspect and so they're going to hone in on whatever it is that that victim needs in order to get closer to them," Lundgren said.
In fact, detectives said Richards was ready to move the girl from Spokane to Federal Way and give her a new identity. However, by the time Richards was ready to kidnap the teen her parents were already ghost texting the suspect on their daughter's iPad.
When Richards pulled into their alley at 3 a.m., the girl's father and a few of his friends were waiting for him.
"The suspect believed he was communicating with the victim online and as such felt comfortable going to contact her again and as a result we were able to arrest him at that time," Lundgren said.
Richards now faces attempted kidnapping and several child rape charges.
Detectives say parents need to be aware that there are sexual predators working social media 24/7 hoping to get closer to your children and they are greatly relieved this 15 year, who got in a car and went to a hotel with a total stranger, isn't dead.
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