SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An East Coast man who allegedly abducted a 14-year-old Escondido boy for sexual purposes last week will face federal prosecution in San Diego, officials announced Monday.
Tony McLeod, 36, was arrested in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday after he and the alleged victim arrived there on a flight from Southern California. The suspect remains in custody in that city as authorities decide where the case will be tried.
On Thursday, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office charged McLeod in absentia with state charges of child abduction, meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, enticement of a minor, contact with a minor to commit a felony and enticing a minor to produce child pornography.
The defendant also will face a federal count of enticement of a minor, according to the FBI. It was not immediately clear if all the allegations against McLeod would be merged into a single criminal case.
According to prosecutors, McLeod first contacted the teen last month via an Internet game, then exchanged texts with him and sent him photographs and a video of himself. The alleged nature of the online relationship prompted the youth's parents to notify the Escondido Police Department in late May.
Last Monday, the boy's family reported that he had failed to come home from school, EPD Lt. Neal Griffin said.
Investigators then determined that McLeod had traveled to California and allegedly "enticed the victim to leave Escondido with him," Griffin said. Detectives alerted law enforcement in Tampa that McLeod and the boy were en route there on an airliner out of Los Angeles International Airport, the lieutenant said.
McLeod allegedly identified the boy to airline officials as "Justin McLeod," apparently to give the impression that the teen was a relative.