Local News

Investigators: Sex offender planned to elope with Carteret girl

Posted September 27, 2012 7:18 p.m. EDT
Updated September 28, 2012 6:39 a.m. EDT

— A Newport man accused of abducting a 12-year-old girl and taking her to Florida told investigators that he and the girl hatched a plan to run away together and get married, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in U.S. District Court Thursday.

Timothy Howard Newman, 38, was arrested Wednesday in Hallandale Beach, Fla., following a three-day, multi-state search. He was charged with child abduction, grand theft auto and violating probation.

Newman, a registered sex offender, is being held without bond while he awaits extradition to North Carolina.

A judge ordered that the girl undergo a thorough medical examination before she returns home to Carteret County. Her father reported her missing on Monday and told the Carteret County Sheriff's Office that he believed she was with Newman, who is a family friend.

A multi-state Amber Alert was issued for the girl, and law enforcement agencies around the Southeast were put on alert for the red Chrysler Sebring Newman was believed to be driving.

In interviews with investigators, the girl said she met Newman in June and that they began a sexual relationship in July, the affidavit states. She said Newman knew she was 12 years old, and she knew he was a sex offender.

The two devised the plan to run away together earlier this month. They communicated regularly about their escape via text messages and phone calls using code names to disguise their identities. The girls' nickname was Ocean, and Newman's was Monkey.

Newman told investigators after his arrest that he planned to marry the girl and admitted he knew her age. In fact, the affidavit states, Newman said he initially met the girl when she was 5 years old.

The two sent each other naked photos and videos, and Newman admitted to multiple sexual encounters between them.

About two weeks ago, the girl's father learned about some of the text messages, and reported them to authorities.

Newman was arrested for violating his probation, but when he was released, he again contacted the girl, and they continued their relationship, according to the affidavit. 

Sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday, Newman and the girl met at an agreed-upon location and began their journey south. They threw away their cellphones in South Carolina before continuing on to Florida. During the trip, the girl told investigators, Newman said he knew he was in trouble and that he would likely go back to prison for being with her.

On Wednesday, investigators tracked Newman to Coral Gables after he used his debit card there.

Around 6:30 p.m., officers spotted the Chrysler Sebring on Interstate 95, pulled the car over and found Newman and the girl inside. They were both taken to the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Newman was convicted of two counts of sex offenses in Stokes County in 2004. The victim in that case was 13.