Colorado Man Arrested for Allegedly Abducting 10-Year-Old After Online Contact in Utah

A Colorado man is being extradited from Utah after police say he told a 10-year-old girl on social media that he wanted to marry her before abducting her from her California home.

Joshua Michael Stehle, 29, of Colorado, may face many first-degree felony charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, contacting a youngster with the intent to sex, and arranging/attending a meeting with a minor.

He is currently in the Sevier County Jail in Richfield, Utah, awaiting extradition to Kern County, California.

Kern County officials say a lady contacted at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, March 17, to report that her 10-year-old daughter was gone. She claimed the youngster must have left the Bakersfield home barefoot because her shoes were left behind.

Police investigated the area but could not find the ten-year-old. California investigators then met with the girl’s pals, who informed them that she “was in a dating relationship with an unknown adult male, possibly in his 30s, who was residing in Utah,” according to the warrant.

“Detectives discovered that [the victim] had interacted with an unknown adult guy over social media. [The victim] informed her friends that an unknown adult male living in Utah wanted to pick her up and marry her,” the warrant stated.

Police said they discovered evidence corroborating these statements after observing substantial interaction between the victim and a phone number connected to Stehle.

According to family members, the 10-year-old received a missed call from an unknown Colorado number several days before the probable kidnapping, telling her family that “it was her friend ‘Simon’ from Utah.”

Detectives were able to follow Stehle’s device and locate him near Salina, Utah, where he was captured and booked into the Sevier County Jail several hours after the initial allegation. Officials said he was carrying a handgun.

The girl was taken into custody by the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and later reunited with her family in California.

After returning to California, the woman informed police she had been conversing with the man via Snapchat messaging and video conversations. According to police, he reportedly took her from her residence at 4 a.m.

The woman claimed that while driving, Stehle threw her phone out the window so that law authorities could not track them down. Police allege he pulled over and sexually attacked her. He also allegedly “placed a ring on [the victim’s] finger” and dubbed it a ‘promise ring’, stating that he would marry her when she turned 18.

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