DEER PARK, Texas (FOX 26) - Deer Park police report there is a suspect in custody after a 12-year-old girl was taken from her home by someone she met online.
Police say it appears the girl was taken from her home at around 12 a.m. Tuesday by a man she met on the MeetMe app website.
Deer Park police say the girl is doing okay after she was found at the Guesthouse Inn on Huffmeister Road in the Cypress area just before noon on Tuesday. The suspect was later identified through hotel records and Facebook photos as 22-year-old Jorge Luis Bastida.
Upon further investigation, police determined that Bastida was employed with the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District Police Department.
When Chief Mendez from CFISD was notified of the case, he had Bastida removed from school grounds and brought to Deer Park police.
After Deer Park detectives questioned Bastida, he resigned as a CFISD officer. He was later arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child and will be processed with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Leslie Francis, the assistant superintendent for communication and community relations for the CFISD, released the following statement on Tuesday evening:
We are aware of the disturbing allegations that a former Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Police Department employee was involved in the aggravated sexual assault of a missing Deer Park juvenile. The employee, who resigned while being investigated, was in a training program and was always under the direct supervision of a field training officer in CFISD. These allegations are heartbreaking to the more than 16,000 other employees who represent CFISD with integrity.
Police say it was at around midnight when the girl had vanished from her home on Glenwood Avenue in Deer Park.
“Within 20 minutes, her mom realized that she was gone and notified the police department,” said Deer Park Police Department Lieutenant Chris Brown.
When police started their investigation, they went through the girl’s social media accounts.
"We learned that she had been using an app called MeetMe and communicating with the older gentleman that we know as Jay," said Lt. Brown.
The man’s MeetMe profile info, which displayed him as “Jay from Cypress,” is all police had to go on as their person of interest. Investigators went through two days of communication between the girl and "Jay."
"The type of communication is consistent with what we see with pedophiles trying to lure young children out of their house," said Brown.
Police say the 12-year-old girl was talking with “Jay from Cypress” right up until she disappeared.
"He had planned to send someone to pick her up," said Brown. "As far as what time, he let her know that the ride was there and to go outside."
Police spent much of Tuesday gathering clues from the girl's iPad.
"She was using her school-issued iPad and from there she was accessing the website," said Brown.
Police say the girl is a student at Fairmont Junior High in the Deer Park Independent School District. Officials from DPISD told FOX 26 News that they have filtering software on students’ school-issued iPad devices that blocks access to chat rooms and inappropriate websites, including the MeetMe app’s website. Also, the iPads do not come with app stores, so students can’t download apps that are not approved by the district, according to district officials.
Still, the news about the sudden disappearance of the young girl is an alarming reminder to Fairmont Junior High parents.
"I don’t really like it," said Pat James, the father of an 11-year-old girl who attends Fairmont. "Too much of these kids using the iPad when they can get a hold of things like that. You know predators out here looking for young kids...so that’s gonna let me know to talk to her today about that and still just watch out."