BLACK CANYON CITY, AZ — A Kentucky man arrested in Arizona is accused of driving across multiple states to engage in sexual activity with a San Diego teenager.
Carlie Bentley, 49, who resides in Kentucky, reportedly used an online dating application to meet a 14-year-old who lives in the San Diego area, according to Special Agent Kristen Robinson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's San Diego Field Office.
Robinson said sometime after making an online connection, Bentley traveled from Kentucky to San Diego and checked into a motel in the San Diego area on December 30.
Bentley and the teen reportedly stayed in the motel for two days before Bentley left San Diego with the victim in a car with registered Kentucky license plates.
A federal complaint stated that the victim told others that Bentley and the victim had engaged in sexual activity, and showed pictures of the alleged incidents to these people, even indicating that there were videos of the sexual encounters. Investigators obtained records from the motel, which confirmed Bentley rented a room at the location for the time period reported by the victim.
FBI officials said that the victim left a note with family on January 13 informing them that the teen was running away from home. A concerned family member contacted the teen's friends, who said the victim had left with, "a 49-year-old man." The friends told the victim's family that the teen stated they would possibly return during spring break or when they turned 18 years old. The family member then contacted law enforcement.
During the investigation, authorities noted that the teen's cell phone was still on, and thanks to tracking, were able to determine that Bentley and the teen were in Arizona.
"We were getting fairly regular GPS ping updates," said Deputy Derek Rousseau with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Derek Rousseau spotted the vehicle heading northbound on Interstate 17 just north of Black Canyon City and thought it was unusual to see those plates at that time of night on the interstate. The deputy ran the plates, and it came back as a rental out of Kentucky.
After hearing an update on the possible location of Bentley, Deputy Rousseau notified area units and DPS to be on the lookout for the suspected vehicle heading north.
"I had a spotlight on as the plates went by. That was the only Kentucky plate that I had seen for 10 or 15 minutes," said the deputy.
A short time later, YCSO officials say DPS units located the vehicle and arrested Bentley. The teen was taken into protective custody and returned safely to their family.
According to the federal complaint, when authorities took Bentley into custody, his pants were unbuttoned and unzipped when he exited the vehicle.
During Bentley's interview, he admitted to traveling to San Diego to meet with the victim around New Year's Eve to engage in sexual acts.
Missing children detectives say it is critical for parents to thoroughly monitor their children's social media and know exactly what apps they are using and who they are talking to.
"Just stay on top of them every moment. It's for their protection and possibly saving their lives," said Kelly Snyder, founder of Find Me and retired DEA.