PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The man police say a local 13-year-old girl ran off with to South Dakota was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday.
Joshua Baker, 31, of Leeper, was indicted on charges of interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
The indictment states that Baker headed to South Dakota with the teen girl on or near March 28.
Authorities say the maximum sentence for his charges include life in prison and/or a $500,000 fine.
The teen girl was originally thought to have been kidnapped, but officials said Monday that they believed she willingly ran off with Baker – who is a cousin of the girl’s mother’s fiancée.
“At that time we received information from interviews that these two individuals were in a relationship,” says Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron.
The girl’s mother has vocalized her gratitude for everyone who helped track down her daughter.
“I want to thank all the public support and prayers during this extremely difficult time,” she said during a press conference Monday.