Teen Found After Being Reported Missing

Teen Found After Being Reported Missing

(RepublicanView.org) – A 13-year-old girl thought to have been kidnapped in South Carolina has been found in Florida with a 35-year-old man from Wisconsin. The teenager was reported missing on February 12 and was last seen the previous day. Deputies from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Florida located her with her alleged captor, Tyler Michael Berlick, in a pickup truck in a shopping center parking lot. They arrested Berlick and charged him with kidnapping, and he is held without bond in the Monroe County Jail in Key West.

South Carolina authorities say the girl may have met her alleged kidnapper online in a “chatting service and gaming app.” The FBI, which initially took over the investigation after the unnamed teenager disappeared, warned Florida authorities that they may be heading toward the Sunshine State and originally referred to the girl as a “runaway.”

The FBI warns that thousands of children are duped and groomed by online predators every year. In 2020, there were 365,348 children reported missing across the country, with over 30,000 of those cases still active by the end of the year. Nowadays, with so many juveniles online, there are increasing concerns about the dangers posed to young people.

For example, Enough Is Enough reported data from a 2019 Center for Cyber Safety and Education study. The study found that 40% of kids from grades 4-8 had spoken to a stranger online, while over 50% gave their phone number to a stranger. Meanwhile, 11% ended up meeting a stranger.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advises parents to keep home computers in open areas, become involved in their child’s online life, warn children of the dangers, and set rules regarding how long kids are allowed online and what sites they are allowed to visit.

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