HALLANDALE (CBSMiami) — A registered sex offender, arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly abducting a 12-year-old girl from North Carolina, is being held without bond after making an initial court appearance Thursday.
The 38-year-old suspect, Timothy Newman, and the 12-year-old girl–whose name is being withheld because she may be the victim of sexual assault–were both taken into custody in Hallandale Beach on Wednesday.
“You do represent a flight risk, a danger to the community, probably any woman in the community and you’re a sex offender. You’re on the run and you’re a fugitive,” said Judge John Hurley during Newman’s bond court appearance.
Newman said he and the girl had been in a sexual relationship since July, according to the federal criminal complaint. He reportedly told FBI investigators that he is a family friend and that he has known the girl since she was five years old.
The complaint also said Newman had ties to South Florida.
Newman went before Judge Hurley on state charges involving sex with a minor from another state and grand auto theft.
“He is facing a 10-year minimum mandatory term for that first charge if he’s convicted,” said Hurley. “And it would be double that because he has priors.”
“I’ll do my best to put you in solitary if you have any contact with that girl and you come before me again for another hearing,” warned Hurley.
“You are to have no contact with this female,” said Hurley. “There should be no direct contact, no contact at all. If you do, I’ll have your telephone cut off. On many levels, the court believes you represent a danger to the community.”
According to the criminal complaint Newman and the girl decided to run away so they could get married. They reportedly planned their trip through text messages in which they used nicknames for each other to disguise their identities.
During his court appearance, the judge said Newman’s a convicted sex offender, has violated probation, and is a transient and fugitive and is a danger to the community and a risk to girls everywhere.
The girl’s father says he is grateful for the efforts to find her, and described the moment he learned she was found.
“It was heart dropping, it really was. I’m so excited for her to be found and be on her way back to me,” said the girl’s father. “I’m excited and I am stoked up for her to come home. And I believe we can work things out.”
Using information from an Amber Alert, Coral Gables detectives rushed to a Mobil Mart at Southwest 42nd Avenue and South Dixie Highway Wednesday where Newman apparently used a debit card. According to the victim’s father, that card belonged to him.
A “be on the lookout” was quickly issued for Newman who was said to be driving a red 1998 Chrysler. The FBI says a Miami-Dade Police officer spotted the car and followed it to a Denny’s parking lot in Hallandale Beach, where officers pulled the pair over.
“I got here just in time to see the guy being handcuffed and patted down and asked questions,” said Danny Arce who snapped photos of the arrest. He added, “likewise with the little girl. They pulled her to safety checked out her physical condition to see if she’s okay.”
“She was crying, she was barefoot,” said Brenda Woodard.
Ricardo Enriquez of the FBI said officers found the pair just in time, “It’s my understanding he wanted to take her out of the country. We don’t know exactly where at this time it may have been somewhere in the Caribbean.”
The girl’s father said the FBI will fly her home this weekend. Newman is expected in Federal Court Friday, and is also facing state charges out of North Carolina.
The father told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that “My daughter is some sort of safe house right now. I believe a church may be helping her.”
Late Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families told D’Oench that the girl
was in DCF custody for now.
Newman faces federal charges that include”using the mail or means of interstate commerce…to persuade, induce, entice or coerce an individual” who is younger than 18 to engage in sex and travelling interstate in order to have illegal sex with another person.
The complaint says Newman was arrested two weeks ago for violating his probation after the girl’s father discovered that he had been sending his daughter text messages. Newman was on probation after a conviction in 2004 for a sexual offense involving a victim who was younger than 13.
The complaint also says that Newman claimed that he and the girl sent each other naked pictures of each other.