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23-year-old arrested after runaway 11-year-old found hiding at his home
BATON ROUGE - Police arrested a 23-year-old man after a missing 11-year-old who never arrived home from school was found in his apartment.
The Baton Rouge Police Department responded to a home on Tuesday evening for reports of a missing person. When officers arrived, they spoke with the parent of an 11-year-old girl who reportedly never returned home from school.
A day later, a tip led officers to a home on Sherwood Valley Court, where they found the girl with 23-year-old Julio Maldonado. The victim told police that Maldonado was her "boyfriend" who she had started speaking with one month ago.
Experts tell WBRZ it appears to be a typical case of grooming.
"Minors and kids state they are dating adults, it's not dating, it's abuse. We get a few of those. They view it as that, because they were groomed to view it as that," said Kaeli Egler with the Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center.
According to an arrest report, the girl also told officers that she called Maldonado on Tuesday and said she didn't want to go home because her father was allegedly abusing her.
While at Maldonado's residence, the victim said they kissed and he tried to convince her to take a shower with him, but she refused.
"Grooming can look different in different situations, but the underlying goal is to gain access and trust," Clinical Director Maria-Elena Allgood said.
Maldonado was arrested Wednesday for aggravated kidnapping of a child and indecent behavior with a juvenile. His bond was set at $175,000.
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