BUTLER COUNTY, Pa. — Adams Township Police said they got a call over the weekend for a missing teenage boy.
That boy was then found 11 hours away in Missouri after chatting with strangers online.
Some parents in the area said this is horrifying.
“I think it’s appalling that people are doing this and kids are falling for it,” said Amber Baldrick.
This all started when a 15-year-old boy of Adams Township met some people online from Arkansas, according to the Butler County District Attorney Rich Goldinger.
Then overnight on Friday, two predators picked up the boy near his house.
The DA said the boy left a note saying he was running away. His parents saw the note the next morning and alerted Adams Township Police.
The boy made it all the way to Missouri until he had second thoughts and called 911. The predators left the boy at an Econo Lodge in a small town called Saint Robert. The boy was found unharmed.
The two men, Nicholas Padgett and Nathaniel Archer, both of Arkansas, are now in custody and awaiting extradition to Butler County. They face multiple charges, including interference with the custody of children, theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal use of a communication facility.
“It’s scary because I have a 10-year-old who plays online and talks to people,” said Baldrick.
The boy took $150,000 worth of silver from his parents and the predators kept all the silver. Adams Township police say they believe everything has been recovered.
The FBI is also involved and is warning parents, the main way predators are grooming and targeting children is online.
“Subjects are on platforms where they know children are on social media apps, they know children use they are looking for vulnerable targets and then groom those kids to do things they wouldn’t normally do or arrange a face-to-face meeting that way,” said Timothy Wolford, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI Pittsburgh.
FBI Pittsburgh is warning parents to monitor what their kids are doing online, suggests setting up parental controls and urge parents to talk to their kids about potential online dangers.
“Parents really need to wake up. They have invited strangers into their homes with these devices and if they aren’t smart about it or on top of it I would say bad things can or I’d say will happen,” said Wolford.
The DA said the boy is safe and was on his way home with his parents.
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