When a Utah teen went online in June to chat with strangers during a stay at her father’s house in St. George, she ran into every parent’s worst nightmare.
The 17-year-old wrote online that she was “depressed and wanted someone to pick her up,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
A man going by “Carter” responded and claimed he was 20 years old. In order to get the teen to meet him, the man said “he would take away her depression and she would be happy with him.”
In reality, he was a 38-year-old named Raymond Burk and had much darker intentions.Maricopa County Jail
The teen initially claimed she was 18, but later admitted to Burk that she was underage. He allegedly responded, “Oh, even better,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
The 38-year-old picked the teen up from her father’s home and revealed that he “lied” about living in a nearby town and instead lived in Phoenix, Arizona.
Burk then told the teen that he was going to keep her as a “pet” and brought her to his home where she was held against her will for more than a week, KUTV reports.
The 38-year-old allegedly sexually assaulted the teen several times and said “he was keeping her forever.” He also allegedly let his drug dealer assault her in exchange for marijuana.
The teen said that Burk “flipped out” and hit her when she asked to go home.
But soon, she was able to get ahold of her kidnappers cell phone and send messages to her friends over social media for help, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Burk attempted to move the teen from his home when he heard police were coming, but they were intercepted.
This week, the 38-year-old was charged with aggravated kidnapping and human trafficking.
He is currently being held on $150,000 bail.
According to a recent study by Pew, parents can best help protect their teens online by discussing what is and isn’t considered appropriate behavior before they get into a potentially dangerous situation.