ESCONDIDO (CBS 8) - He was bold and relentless. The mother of an Escondido teenager tells News 8 how an accused predator wouldn't back off, and was able to lure her son to Florida, and the ordeal she went through to get him back.
The boy met the man playing online video games. And things escalated to the point that the teen boarded a plane, and the suspect was busted at the Tampa airport.
She's an amazingly strong woman. A mother of five, determined at all costs to protect her 14-year old-son.
She says the fight is far from over as they await the prosecution of Tony McLeod.
Through her trying ordeal this mom says she has learned a lot and is forever indebted to the Escondido police department for bringing her son back.
In her own words she tells News 8 what happened:
"This guy had apparently been grooming him for about a year."
"Normally I check his phone I do spot checks.. At that point you jump up it's protective mode give me that give me that phone I got the phone and right away got police on the phone."
"It's not right, he violated us and my son in so many ways, it's not something you can say stop talking to my son, and it be over, he needed to be held accountable for what he had done."
"I immediately fell to the floor I knew who had him, I knew it wasn't going to be good."
"Who would expect someone to board a plane in Tampa, rent a car, drive here, and take a child I can't believe the extraordinary measures he went to."
"The detectives were amazing throughout the process."
"Knowing he was safe, being in contact with Tampa, they were keeping me updated on how he was doing."
"They did let me speak to him, so I was able to hear his voice and know it was in fact him."
"I knew he was with police in Tampa and they had their eyes on his the entire time which was extremely comforting."
"I can't even express my gratitude they did a fantastic job they were there."
"I ran up to him and held him as hard as I could hold him and I don't even know how many kisses I gave him."
"Just joyful to see him standing there waiting for me when I got off the elevator was just amazing and to see there he is and he's okay."
And how is your son doing?
"He's doing well"
If you could talk to him what would you say?
"I want him to see my face and I want him to know I'm the one that did this to him I'm the one that wants him to pay for what he has done."
In this particular case, being proactive made a huge difference in catching this guy. Who went as far as changing his phone number to dodge the parents who were monitoring their communications.
The teens mom says staying involved in her sons the social circle was critical. And she encourages other parents to stay connected.
She would like to personally thank detective Gimenez for his amazing work during this difficult week.
On Thursday, the San Diego county district attorney's office filed charges against McLeod, including child abduction, meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, online enticement of a minor, contact with a minor to commit a felony and to entice a minor to produce child pornography.