Affidavit: Man met 13-year-old online before they ran away to Oklahoma

CHECOTAH, Okla. – We’re learning more about a man who was arrested in Oklahoma after he was allegedly caught with a missing 13-year-old child from North Carolina.

On Wednesday, officials say they began receiving information from North Carolina law enforcement officials about a possible location of a missing 13-year-old girl.

Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, troopers with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, special agents and task force officers with the FBI Oklahoma City office, went to the America’s Best Value Inn in Checotah.

Ultimately, investigators found the 13-year-old girl in a room with 23-year-old Jacob Gardea, of New Mexico.


According to the probable cause affidavit, Gardea told investigators that he met the victim on the Internet. He says he knew the victim was only 13-years-old, but still exchanged nude pictures and videos with the girl.

Days before he was found in Checotah, Gardea says he and the victim began talking about running away.

Gardea was arrested on complaints of forcible oral sodomy and lewd acts with a minor. He is currently being held in the McIntosh County Criminal Justice Center without bond. He is also being held for an outstanding arrest warrant from North Carolina for the abduction of a child.

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