SAN ANTONIO — A Texas man has been charged with kidnapping and child exploitation after meeting up with a minor he met online.
According to a release from the United States Attorney's Office of the Western District of Texas, 34-year-old Kraig David Van Winkle of Schertz, Texas, allegedly traveled to Springdale on Jan. 8 to meet up with a 13-year-old girl he met online.
Van Winkle then kidnapped and took the child back to his home in Texas with the intent of engaging in sexual activity, according to the release.
After the child was reported missing, tips from the public led authorities to Van Winkle. According to court records, a witness saw the girl willfully get into a vehicle on Jan. 9 with a license plate registered to Van Winkle. He then instructed the minor to throw her cellphone out of the window and into a storm drain to prevent law enforcement and her family from being able to locate her.
FBI personnel arrested Van Winkle at his residence on Jan. 11 by using a pizza delivery flyer ruse and returned the girl to Arkansas.
Van Winkle waived his Miranda rights and confessed to having sexual contact with the minor, who he knew was 13 years old. He also provided a written statement of regret to the chid, her family and friends, according to court records.
Van Winkle stated that about two weeks before, he met the 13-year-old girl on the online chat website Omegle, and the two began communicating on Snapchat, where he received sexual photos of the girl.
Court records state that Van Winkle devised a plan to bring the girl to his residence in Texas to "take care of her."
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Van Winkle filed a waiver of arraignment with the Court.
In response, the Court filed an automatic plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant to charges contained in a federal grand jury indictment returned on Feb. 5, namely one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and one count of interstate kidnapping of a minor.
Upon conviction, Van Winkle faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the kidnapping charge and a minimum of 10 years to life imprisonment for the transportation with intent to engage in sexual activity charge. He is still in federal custody at this time.
The San Antonio FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, investigated this case with assistance from FBI Little Rock and the Springdale Police Department.