Fil-Am, 22, arrested for allegedly luring Missouri girl, 12, for sex
SAN FRANCISCO — A Filipino American man from Maryland has been charged with enticing a minor from Blue Springs, Missouri, for illicit sexual activity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal investigators said William Dela Cruz, 22, communicated online with a 12-year-old girl for five months before he picked her up on Saturday night, April 8, setting off an Amber Alert for a possible abduction of a minor.
Citizens tipped off police to a location near a gas station in Wentzville, Missouri, on Sunday afternoon, April 9, where they found Dela Cruz and the girl, who was reported safe.
The Blue Springs Police Department said Dela Cruz and the girl had been in touch through “Discord” as well as Facebook Messenger, Skype and phones. They had met through an online game “Onigiri.” The girl reportedly told Dela Cruz she was 15 years old.
Dela Cruz told investigators that he and his brother, Jason Dela Cruz, 25, drove from Maryland to Blue Springs to pick the girl up who said she had run away from home.
The brothers had an argument about how old she really was after William told Jason she was 19. Worried that she was actually much younger, Jason dropped the two off at a gas station and later turned himself in to police; he hasn’t been charged with any crime.
William Dela Cruz said he didn’t have enough money for a hotel room so they slept in the woods. Authorities said that despite knowing she was really only 12, he still had sex with her.
Dela Cruz is in federal custody and has been assigned a public defender. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 10 years in prison with the possibility for life and a potential $250,000 fine.
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