Soldier gets 12 years for sex with girl staged kidnapping

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A soldier who was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina has been sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for taking a 12-year-old across state lines for sex after staging her kidnapping.

WRAL reports that Pvt. James Murdock Peele, 22, was sentenced on Tuesday.

He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade. He had pleaded guilty to transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Authorities say the case began in 2018 when a woman in Craven County reported her granddaughter missing. She said she found the window to the girl’s room was open and a ransom note demanding $20,000.

Authorities said they tracked Peele down because he was listed as the girl’s boyfriend on her Facebook page. FBI agents said the girl told them that Peele knew her age, but he told her that age was just a number.

Copyright 2021, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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