A 15-year-old girl boarded a plane in Texas for what her parents thought was a church retreat in Florida.
Days later, deputies found her with an armed felon at a rental home in Port Charlotte.
Vincent Joseph Robusto, 38, of Decatur, Georgia, was arrested Friday on charges of false imprisonment, interference with the custody of a minor, delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor, and two counts of possession of ammunition or a firearm by a convicted felon.
The victim’s parents contacted authorities in Dilley, Texas, when they had not heard from their daughter for several days after she had traveled to Florida for an “all-inclusive church retreat,” according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators contacted the church camp, where representatives said the girl was not registered for the camp and had never attended the church.
They also learned from the girl’s friends that she had been communicating with an older male on social media apps.
Authorities tracked the girl’s phone to an address on the 18500 block of Ohara Drive in Port Charlotte.
When deputies arrived and knocked on the door, a man ran to a back room, refusing to open the door or acknowledge their presence, authorities said.
Deputies traced a white Buick in the driveway and contacted the owner in Georgia, who got in touch with the man inside the house, later identified as Robusto, and convinced him to come to the front door along with the girl.
The victim told authorities she had tried to open the door but Robusto held it closed and told her to stay quiet.
She said she remembered getting off a plane in Fort Myers and walking down the street, where she was met by Robusto, who drove her to the Ohara Drive residence where they ate dinner and he gave her a vape pen with an unknown substance.
After obtaining a warrant for the Ohara Drive home, which was a Vrbo online vacation rental, investigators found a semiautomatic handgun with eight rounds of ammunition in the magazine.
Robusto was arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail, where his bond was set at $325,000.
His arraignment is Aug. 30.