SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A third man is now facing charges in connection with the disappearance last Friday of a 14-year-old northwest Indiana, who was later found safe in southwest Ohio.
Ian Nathaniel Smith, 20, was charged Wednesday with sexual exploitation of a child, and possession of child pornography, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas.
Two other men are facing state charges in Ohio after the girl was found four days after she disappeared near Cincinnati, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.
Eric Zyn Ho, 25, is charged with one count of rape; while Bryan Matthew Otero, 27, is charged with one count of complicity to rape, according to the Clermont County sheriff’s office. Both are scheduled to appear in court May 12, according to the Clermont County sheriff’s office.
The girl had last been seen about 12:55 a.m. Friday in the 1100 block of East Highway 330 in Schererville, Indiana, according to the sheriff’s office.
Around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, she was found in Cincinnati and was taken to a local hospital for a checkup, the sheriff’s office announced Tuesday. She has since returned home safely with her parents.
Ho and Otero were taken into custody by the FBI at the home in Ohio where she was found, according to the sheriff’s office. Smith was taken into federal custody in Derby, Kansas.
Smith allegedly picked the girl up about 11 p.m. April 27 from her home after meeting her in an online chat room, according to the sheriff’s office.
He left the girl with Ho and Otero at the home in Ohio, where she was eventually found, the sheriff’s office said. He then drove back to Kansas, where federal authorities found and arrested him.
According to the federal criminal complaint, Smith met and chatted with the girl on the social media apps Kik and Skype, and convinced her to take and send him photos of a sexual nature, though he knew she was a minor.
When FBI investigators searched Smith’s cellphones, they found more than 200 images and four videos that appear to show “children engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” the complaint states.
Smith is being held without bond in the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita, Kansas, pending an appearance in federal court.