LAND O'LAKES, FLORIDA: A Florida man has been arrested and charged after authorities said he repeatedly raped a young girl he contacted and met through popular social media site Snapchat.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office started investigating 22-year-old Austin Altman after they responded to a residence in Brooksville on Saturday, October 12, regarding a missing 10-year-old girl, according to a press release.
Family members said they had last seen the child at around 3 am when she went to the bathroom and that they were unable to locate her after they woke up again at around 6:40 am. They said they searched for her before contacting law enforcement and reporting her missing.
During their investigation, deputies talked to a friend of the young girl and learned that she was seen the previous day talking to a man in a red truck. She told them that the victim had planned on running away with the man, who she met on Snapchat.
On further investigation, they uncovered that a deputy from a previous shift had conducted a field information report on the driver of a suspicious vehicle in the area where the missing girl lived and traced the vehicle to Altman.
Investigators in Hernando County subsequently contacted the Pasco Sheriff's Office, who sent deputies to Altman's residence at 6411 Tiger Trail Road, in Pasco County.
Initially, the 22-year-old claimed he was home alone and didn't know the victim, but was caught when a deputy accompanied him inside to retrieve his phone and found the girl inside his bedroom.
He then confessed to meeting her on Snapchat and having sex with her, with his arrest report stating that he raped her even though she told him to stop four times. It also said that the girl told deputies he held her down "with his hand on her throat."
Altman, who was found to have been placed on probation in 2012 when he was still a juvenile, was charged with sexual battery on a victim under 12, interference with child custody, and violation of probation.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said he could face further charges as well. He is currently being held at the Pasco County jail without bond.