PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS) — There are still plenty of questions about the disappearance of a 17-year-old girl from Medfield this week, but some of them were answered in a Rhode Island courtroom Friday.
State and local police asked for the public’s help after the developmentally delayed teen walked away from the Medfield Public Library with an unknown man Monday afternoon.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports
After surveillance images of the man and the girl were released by police, they were found Thursday morning in Coventry, Rhode Island. The teen was not hurt and was reunited with her parents.
Investigators questioned the man with her, Stephen Ardrey, 30, of Springfield, Missouri and later arrested him.
Ardrey was brought to federal court in Providence Friday afternoon, where he was charged with sex trafficking and crossing state lines to engage in illegal sex with a minor.
According to federal law, age 17 is considered a minor. If convicted, both charges carry prison sentences of ten years to life.
Ardrey was ordered held without bail and no other details about the investigation were revealed. Attorneys for both sides also refused to comment on the case.
Authorities searched a motel in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, where it’s believed Ardrey stayed with the teen during her disappearance. The two reportedly met online.
The affidavit in the case has been sealed. Ardrey’s past criminal history is part of the reason for him being held without bail. He was arrested in Georgia in 2007 and charged with pimping. He was sentenced to 28 days in jail and 11 months of probation.
The teen’s mother had some words of caution for parents when she returned to their Medfield home Friday night. “This is happening very frequently, and these people are seeking out innocent girls,” she said. “In our situation, thankfully this got out because of the media’s help, but look at all the people this happens to who stay underground. That’s so sad.”
She plans to personally thank the man who spotted the two walking on Route 3 in Coventry, Rhode Island during his morning commute.
“I doubled back,” said Jim Pugliese. “I knew it was them.” He called police.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager contributed to this report.