A California girl, reported missing by her Santa Clarita parents Tuesday night, was found early Wednesday morning inside the garage of a convicted sex offender, authorities said on Wednesday.
The teenager’s parents reported her missing Tuesday evening to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to KTLA News.
Because of her age and because she lacked a history of running away, deputies treated her as a “critical missing person,” Special Victim’s Bureau Sgt. Brian Hudson told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
Investigators reportedly obtained the girl’s cell phone records and called the number of a recently placed call. That call was answered by a man who was later identified Kaene Dean, a 26-year-old convicted sex offender, who claimed he did not know the girl or her whereabouts.
After running a background check on Dean, investigators visited the home where the he lived with his parents in Saugus. The parents allowed deputies to search the premises. Police found the girl hiding in the parents’ garage around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Police told KTLA that Dean met the girl at an Albertson’s grocery store Monday.
“He befriended the victim and told her she was pretty,” Hudson told The Signal. “As a result they exchanged phone numbers.”
The two reportedly agreed to meet Tuesday.
“She left her residence and met with the suspect at his residence,” Hudson said.
It was there, police allege, Dean sexually assaulted the girl.
Police arrested Dean on a charge of oral copulation with a minor. He was last reported being held at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on $100,000 bail.
Dean was on parole for burglary, according to KTLA. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender in 2008 after being convicted of indecent exposure in Glendale.
Hudson said the recent incident and Dean’s criminal history and sex offender status could mean there are other victims.
“Our concern is he may have done this to other females in the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said.
Anyone who has had contact with Dean or has information related to the recent incident is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273.
Photo Credit: KTLA News courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department