A Southern California father says he is incredibly lucky he woke up when he did, and was able to save his preteen daughter from a man he says is a predator she met on social media.
Tim LeBlanc woke up around 2 a.m. and realized his 12-year-old daughter was not in the house, so he got into his truck and started looking for her around the neighborhood.
He found his daughter with an adult man down the street.
"As soon as my daughter saw my truck she must have said something, because as soon as I saw them, she, like, came away and started backing away and he started trying to go the other direction," LeBlanc says. "I came around the corner, got out, apprehended him."
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LeBlanc said the two met on the app called Kik, a messaging service. He said his daughter thought the person she was going to meet was a 16-year-old boy.
The two had exchanged messages via the phone app, using a neighbor’s open Wi-Fi to connect her cellphone. LeBlanc said the man sent his daughter naked photos of himself, among other messages.
The man was taken into custody by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies. He was identified as Scott Stilwell, 27, of San Diego.
He reportedly also lured the girl with gifts including a jacket, necklace and hat.
LeBlanc acknowledges that his daughter intentionally left the house to meet up with Stilwell, something experts say is happening more and more often.
"This is common scenario taking place today on Internet," says Opal Singleton, president of Million Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to educating parents about the dangers of online predators.
"Sit with your child, look at each app, Google the app," Singleton advises.
LeBlanc still doesn't know what to make of this.
"You know, I don’t know if it’s sex trafficking or just the mind of a really sick individual," he says.
According to online records, Stilwell is facing two felony charges for providing harmful matter to a minor and meeting a minor with the intention of committing a lewd or lascivious act.
He remains behind bars Monday night in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Stilwell's family told NBC San Diego that they are "blown away" by the accusations and say their son has mental issues.