A western Pennsylvania man accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and taking her to South Dakota is now facing federal charges.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Tuesday that a grand jury in Pittsburgh had indicted 31-year-old Joshua Baker of Leeper on federal counts of interstate transportation of a minor and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Clarion County prosecutors earlier announced state charges of kidnapping a minor and interfering with custody. District Attorney Mark Aaron alleged that Baker was running away from his wife and was ``in a relationship'' with the girl.
Baker was arrested Saturday in Martin, S.D., two days after a store clerk saw Baker and the girl and called police.
It began with a missing girl thousands of miles away. Police in Pennsylvania sought Joshua Baker, 19, as a person of interest in the case. More than a week later Baker and the girl were spotted at Budget Optical in Rapid City. An employee reported they came in holding hands, claiming to be brother and sister, and made an appointment. The employee wrote down a license plate and looked them up online – then called police.
"We got a lucky break from a very observant young lady who works in an optometrist office in Rapid City, South Dakota," said Mark Aaron, Clarion County District Attorney."
Later that day, the Martin Police Department was notified that Baker may be heading that way.
"The communication and information sharing all the way from Pennsylvania was done in such a way that we had a very good idea and leads as to what we were looking for," said Martin Police Chief Julio Medeiros.
By Saturday, Police in Martin spotted the vehicle in the parking lot of Lynn's Dakotamart and Dairy Queen.
"Officers had in fact confirmed that the vehicle was the vehicle in question," said Medeiros.
An employee at Lynn's Dakotamart in Martin says the two were laughing as they shopped for groceries.
"In fact the officers found the girl, she was unharmed and the suspect in the case was placed under arrest," said Medeiros.
And thanks to the combined efforts of numerous law enforcement agencies; the 13 year old girl was safe.
"This is a case where it could have been a very unfortunate ending and we are extremely happy it ended the way it has," said Medeiros.
Police in Pennsylvania say Baker is a cousin of the fiancé of the girl's mother and he is facing kidnapping charges.
But Medeiros says the suspect did attempt to escape after he was in police custody, but was captured, and could face additional charges.
A Pennsylvania man is in the Pennington County Jail charged in connection with the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl.
Joshua Baker, 19, was arrested Saturday in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen in Martin.
The Rapid City Police Department contacted the Martin Police Department on Friday saying the kidnapper might have ties to the Martin community.
Then, on Saturday afternoon around 3:00 p.m. - thanks to a civilian tip - Baker was arrested without incident.
The Martin police chief says the 13-year-old appeared to be in good health and was unharmed.
Police in Pennsylvania say the girl disappeared in the middle of the night on March 28 from her home in Clarion County Pennsylvania. Police say Baker is a family friend, but hasn't said why they believe he took the girl with him.
It's not immediately clear when or if he'll be extradited to Pennsylvania on the charges.