A teenage girl abducted from a Lexington Foster home last week has been found by police, and the man accused of kidnapping her is under arrest, outlets reported Tuesday.
Christopher Steele Boles, 36, is accused of taking the 15-year-old from the American Children’s Home on Feb. 16, FOX 8 reported. She had been talking with Boles using her school-issued laptop, the station reported.
Police began searching for the girl that same day, and on Monday found her at a motel in Aberdeen, the station said. Authorities then arrested Boles, who was found in possession of heroin and marijuana, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. His bond is set at $1 million.
Carlson is the second teen kidnapped in Davidson County this month aftera 14-year-old was taken Feb. 11. Both had been chatting to their alleged abductors online with their school laptops, outlets reported.
Law enforcement rescued the 14-year-old on Sunday, after Arkansas police spotted the missing girl at a McDonald’s parking lot, sitting inside a car with a man, McClatchy News reported.
Officers ordered the driver, William Robert Ice, 38, to exit the vehicle, and he opened fire, critically injuring one of the officers.
Ice led police on a car chase until his vehicle “became disabled in a snowbank,” police said. The girl ran from the car to a state trooper, and Ice was found behind the wheel with a gunshot wound believed to be self-inflicted. He later died in a hospital, McClatchy reported.
The injured officer was last listed in stable condition.
Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons said the kidnappings show that children are more protected in schools, McClatchy reported. It’s tougher to keep them safe when they’re learning remotely.
“While they’re in school, there’s firewalls for this. When they’re taking these tablets home, there’s nothing,” Simmons said Monday during a news conference. “It’s whatever’s on their server at their house. And that’s a big problem, because they’re talking to what and they’re getting on what sites? No one knows.”
Other experts in law enforcement and child welfare have noticed the concerning trend.
“More kids are online. More offenders are online,” Lindsey Olson of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Reports of “online enticement” doubled in 2020 over 2019, from 12,520 to 30,236, according to agency data.
“There is just more opportunity right now,” Olsen said.
Davidson County Schools Superintendent Emily Lipe told McClatchy News that all students take internet safety training and sign a safety pledge, as well as an agreement to allow their computer to be monitored by district staff.
Additionally, the district uses a filtering system on all school-issued devices that block inappropriate sites. But it’s a constant battle.
“Unfortunately, there are so many inappropriate websites in existence, we must be made aware before we can block them,” Lipe said. “Our district will review these protocols and investigate to determine if additional measures for restricting certain uses should be taken.”
McClatchy News is not identifying the victims because they are minors.