Andrew E. Howland, of Lancaster, drove through several states to pick up the girl on early Tuesday morning at her Indiana home. He then dove back to Lancaster County where he took the girl to a local hotel.
The West Hempfield Township police went to the Comfort Inn on Abel Drive where they discovered Howland and the girl in a room.
The girl had been reported as a runaway.
West Hempfield Police Detective Sgt. George Brace and Lancaster County Detective Brent Shultz charged Howland with felony counts of kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, interfering with the custody of children, and misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and corruption of minors.
Howland’s Bail is currently set at $575,000 and has not been posted.
“The collaborative investigation revealed Mr. Howland’s illicit plan to remove this child from her home state,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said on Thursday. “The diligence of law-enforcement agencies here and across the country led to a safe recovery of the girl.”
“The law-enforcement agencies involved recognized the seriousness of this situation and acted accordingly to track Mr. Howland to a hotel room in our jurisdiction with a 13-year-old girl,” West Hempfield Township police Chief Lisa Layden said. “Without such seamless collaboration, this resolution may not have been achieved.”
The investigation uncovered texts from Howland and the girl, which revealed Howland’s plan to bring the girl to Lancaster County and sexually assault her.
The Lancaster County Children’s Alliance and Lancaster County Children and Youth Agency assisted the girl. Due to the girl being a reported runaway, she is currently in custody of social services.
“This case is a stark reminder of the dangers children can encounter online,” District Attorney Adams said. “Social networking platforms can be hunting grounds for predators hoping to contact and victimize children. Police will continue to be as proactive as possible to interrupt this deviant activity.”
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