A 41-year-old man has been accused of luring a 15-year-old girl to his Missouri home, where he allegedly held her captive and raped her repeatedly for three weeks.
The teen was rescued by law enforcement on Tuesday, nearly a month after she vanished from her Brooklyn, Ohio neighborhood.
Authorities arrested Christopher David Schroeder who now faces a slew of federal and state charges.
He allegedly picked up the girl near her home on November 8 after the pair met earlier in the month or in late October on Kik, an Internet chat forum, according to an affidavit filed in court by FBI Special Agent John Mark Burbidge.
She had reportedly told Schroeder that she was unhappy at home and though she told him she was only 15, Schroeder said he would pick her up and help her.
Once in his car, Schroeder allegedly made the girl remove her phone’s battery and SIM card, which he smashed into pieces, the affidavit said. He later allegedly destroyed her phone and threw it in a river.
“While transporting (the girl) to his residence, defendant told (the girl) that he intended to have sex with her as soon as they reached his residence,” the affidavit said. “(She) informed the defendant again that she was only fifteen-years old.”
The girl told investigators that she did not know where they were going, and said that he began treating her like a servant once they arrived at his Marthasville home.
Schroeder immediately had sex with the girl once they reached his house, the affidavit charges. She was then allegedly made to clean the house and was told she was not allowed to use the Internet or telephone unless she was given permission.
Schroeder also allegedly said that she would have to cut or color her hair to change her appearance, that she was not allowed to give her real name to anyone and that she needed to lose weight.
He allegedly had sex with the girl multiple times, even though he knew she was 15, the affidavit said.
Schroeder allegedly ignored the teen’s pleas to go home, telling her she was not allowed to leave. The girl told authorities that she was afraid to leave because he had numerous guns in his home.
Friends and family told police in her hometown of Brooklyn, Ohio, that the teen planned on running away.
Police from Warren and St. Charles counties and the FBI rescued the girl about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday using information from the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Two Internet protocol addresses linked to her Facebook page helped police locate the girl.
"It cannot be overstated that the Internet can be a very dangerous place, especially for children," William P. Woods, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division, said in a statement to INSIDE EDITION.
"Before the Internet, predators had to physically troll the streets looking for children not knowing much about the child," he continued. "Now they have access to children anywhere in the country or the world and target those who may be especially vulnerable just by reading what’s posted on social media.”
Officials said the girl appeared to be in good condition and that she had changed her appearance. She was expected to return home Thursday.
Scroeder, who claimed on his LinkedIn profile to be a system engineer with 20 years of experience in information technology, told investigators that he thought the girl was 18 and that someone else had brought her to Missouri, according to the affidavit.
Investigators searching Schroeder’s home found video cameras in his bedroom pointing to the bed and at least one video that showed him having sex with the victim, the affidavit said. Other videos were also found.
Schroeder was charged with production of child pornography, transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and second-degree statutory rape. He appeared for his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday.
If convicted, these charges carry penalties ranging from 15 years to life in prison and/or fines up to $250,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said in a statement. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney or issued a plea.