A U.S. Marine, stationed in Louisiana, is currently in custody in Florida after investigators say he had “intercourse” with a 14-year-old girl he had met on a social media app.
Just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening, dispatchers with the West Melbourne Police Department received a call from a woman who claimed her 14-year-old daughter had gone missing. The woman, whose name has not been released, said she had seen the girl at approximately 8 a.m. that morning but had not seen her since. Police classified the girl as a “runaway” and began an investigation into her disappearance.
The woman stated that she had picked her daughter up from an America’s Best Value Inn “on a different date,” a court document stated, and she had gone through her daughter’s phone to try and determine where she might be and with whom. The girl’s phone allegedly revealed that she had met Sean Michael Rudziewicz, a 22-year-old U.S. Marine, on a video chat app called Omegle. As their correspondence progressed, Rudziewicz suggested they continue chatting on other apps, such as Discord and Snapchat “to further the relationship,” a police report stated.
During one of their recent conversations, the girl reportedly suggested that Rudziewicz come out to Melbourne, along the eastern coast of Florida, for a visit. Rudziewicz agreed and flew into town on January 16. While there, he took the juvenile “to the movies, the mall, and the beach,” the police report claimed.
When police asked Rudziewicz about the missing girl in his room at the America’s Best Value Inn, he allegedly admitted that he knew the girl in question and that the two of them had had “intercourse” one time the day before. However, he allegedly insisted he had not seen her since 3 p.m. that day.
Police then examined surveillance footage from the hotel, which revealed that a girl matching the missing girl’s description had entered the lobby at 4:30 that afternoon. Police then returned to Rudziewicz, confronted him with the video footage, and asked him again whether he knew where she was.
At that point, the suspect pointed to the bed in his hotel room, and the girl emerged from underneath it when prompted by police. “If you need to arrest me, I understand,” Rudziewicz then told police, according to the arrest affidavit.
Rudziewicz was, in fact, arrested and booked into Brevard County Jail, where he is being held on $70,000 bond. He has been charged with lewd or lascivious battery to a victim 12 to 16 years of age and interference with child custody, Law & Crime reported, and is scheduled to appear in court again on February 23. Rudziewicz has claimed that the victim had previously told him that she was 18.
“Parents, please take this time to speak to your children about the dangers of technology and Social Media,” a Facebook post from West Melbourne PD warned. “If you allow your children to have devices, make it a point to check their tablets, computers and phones. A nosey parent is a good parent.”
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