Thanks to cooperation with several agencies across the U.S., a Missouri man is in custody in Kentucky today facing local Kidnapping charges and Polk County charges of interference with child custody, just 11 hours after PCSO was notified of a missing teenaged girl.
The investigation began around 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2015, when PCSO received a call from a mother reporting that her 16-year-old daughter had run away from home. The victim was entered into the FDLE database as a missing and endangered child. The girl’s parents told detectives they had previously taken away all her electronic devices, due to issues with her messaging unknown people.
Within hours, PCSO detectives had identified several people with whom the girl had communicated via a cell phone she obtained from other means (unknown to her parents). She was communicating via email, texting, the Internet, and other messaging applications. Detectives also reviewed video surveillance from the girl’s neighborhood and were able to positively identify a suspect vehicle seen entering and leaving around 5:40 a.m. that morning. The suspect vehicle, a black Honda Accord, was confirmed registered to 46-year-old John Rush of 44 Cedar Lodge Drive in Pacific, Missouri. The victim had been communicating with Rush via her cell phone, and detectives found evidence that Rush planned on picking her up on May 28th and taking her back to his home in Missouri.
PCSO detectives obtained a warrant for Rush’s arrest for Interference with Child Custody (F-3), and made contact with law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri. Around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28th, Rush’s vehicle was stopped heading westbound on Interstate 24 in McCracken County, Kentucky, by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was located safe inside the vehicle.
Rush has been booked into the McCracken County Jail on one count Kidnapping by Kentucky State Police. Deputies found a box in his vehicle containing several sex toys. Rush told detectives he has been communicating with the victim for three weeks, he is aware she is 16 years old, he was not planning on taking her back home, but he was planning on letting her parents know that she is okay. The victim had several bags of clothing in her possession.
“John Rush is one very scary example of why we work around the clock to protect the innocent, and why we warn parents of the dangers of the Internet. This man drove all the way from Missouri to take this child, whom he had met and groomed online, and to have sex with her. He told her that May 28th was going to be a special day – well it certainly was a special day for us, because we got to put a child predator behind bars.” – Sheriff Grady Judd
The following agencies assisted in this investigation: · FDLE
· McCracken County Sheriff’s Office
· Kentucky State Police
· St. Louis County (MO) Police
· Missouri ICAC Task Force
The victim’s parents are enroute to Kentucky to be reunited with their daughter. Rush will be held in the McCracken County Jail and will be extradited to Polk County at a later date.