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A nightmare is finally over for a Texas family after their 15-year-old daughter has finally been rescued from captivity in Florida.  The way this horrible situation unfolded was almost the worst-case scenario, but thanks to the quick action taken by investigators in the Sunshine State everyone walked away safe and a very dangerous man in now behind bars.

The Lie It Began With

According to the official release from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, the ordeal started when the unnamed minor from Dilley, Texas told her parents she was going to a church camp with some friends.  She boarded a plane and flew to what she explained was an "all-inclusive" camp in Florida.  After a couple of days with no check in from their daughter, the concerned parents made a call to the church camp.  They were in no way prepared for the shocking revelation that not only was their daughter not registered there, she had never even been to the church affiliated with the camp!

How Did Law Enforcement Find Her?

Obviously, the very next call was to local police.  From there, officers with the Dilley Police Department "pinged" the girl's cell phone.  "Pinging" is the term used when a signal is sent to a particular cell phone so that it responds. When technicians compare the signal strength and time lag for the phone's signal to reach at each tower, the network provider can triangulate the phone's approximate position.  Through this process, law enforcement officials were able to pinpoint the phone's location as a VRBO vacation rental home at 18541 Ohara Drive in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Finding Her Was the Easy Part

Once the location was found, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office was brought in the loop.  They rolled out immediately to find this runaway, but what they found was a much more complicated and dangerous situation.  At the residence, officers knocked on the door - but didn't receive an answer.  Through a window, they did observe a man running to the back of the house.  After contacting the owner of a Buick parked in the driveway of the home, they were able to persuade the car's to contact the man inside.

The unnamed Buick owner was able to talk the man into opening the door for officers, which he did with the missing 15-year-old at his side.  Deputies were able to determine that the man was 38-year-old Vincent Joseph Robusto - a convicted felon from Georgia.  After a search warrant for the vacation home was obtained, investigators found eight rounds of ammunition inside a semi-automatic handgun magazine.

How Did This Happen?

Investigators would learn that the minor had been communicating with an older man via social media, but it wasn't know if that person was Robusto at the time of this report.  According to the teen's statement to police, she got off the plane in Ft. Myers, Florida and was walking down the street when she was greeted by Robusto.  The pair had dinner, then he reportedly supplied her with a vape pen filled with an unknown substance.

What Happens Now?

The minor has been returned home, and Mr. Robusto is currently sitting in jail.  According to the press release, he is being charged with:

  • False Imprisonment of a Person Against Their Will
  • Interference with Custody of Minor
  • Possession of Firearm Ammunition or Weapon by US Convicted Felon
  • Drug Paraphernalia – Delivery to Minor
  • Possession of Firearm Ammunition or Weapon by US Convicted Felon

He is currently being held on a $325,000 bond.

If you have teens, make sure you show them this story and talk to them about the dangers of talking with strangers online.  This girl is safe at home now, but the end result could have been much, much worse.

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