LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A Texarkana man is now behind bars for soliciting a 14-year-old girl, online.
James Reynolds, 22, was arrested Sunday afternoon at the bus station just moments after he allegedly met up with the teenage victim. Longview police say the two of them may have been planning to run away, together. Authorities say it all probably started months ago.
"We know it wasn't a random act," said Officer Kevin Brownlee, with the Longview Police Department. "He didn't just go to Lowe's and pick up a 14 year old and drive away with her...She went voluntarily with him. We know that."
Police say it appears Reynolds' alleged relationship with the teenager has been building online for the past several months. At some point, the two arranged to meet up. The rendezvous point was at Lowe's, just off Loop 281 in Longview. Authorities say the girl was there with her family when she disappeared.
"They were absolutely frantic...They had no idea that this had been going on," said Brownlee.
Officer Brownlee says police were called. Employees helped search the building. Reynolds was later spotted on video, meeting the girl at the front of the store. The two took off. Police would later track them to the Greyhound bus station.
"He'd purchased bus two tickets - one for himself, one for the juvenile, so it's our belief that he was intending to leave Longview with the juvenile," said Brownlee.
Police would not say where the two were allegedly headed and could not say if the tickets were purchased in advance. But they do say that one thing is certain.
"These types of crimes do happen," said Brownlee. "They happen everywhere...Everyone is vulnerable to that."
It is up to parents to safeguard their children.
"If they're going in chat rooms, or they're on Facebook, parents need to know what social networking sites they use, and they need to have access to it," said Brownlee.
The suspect told police he was living at the Salvation Army of Longview, but staff members there were unfamiliar with the name. We also checked the state and national sex offender database and found no one matching Reynolds' information. He is being held on $20,000 bond.