NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A 13-year-old girl is home safe after police say a New Mexican man kidnapped her in Washington state and drove the girl to Los Lunas. It’s believed Lucas Murphy lured her on the social media app, Snapchat.
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The teen’s parents filed a runaway report with the Kennewick Police Department, in southern Washington, on December 19. The girl currently lives in Montana but used to live in Washington. Police said she was visiting her friends for the holiday.
It turns out she had been planning with Murphy that he would come to pick her up and drive her more than a thousand miles to his home in Los Lunas. Washington’s Tri-City Herald reports the girl’s mom discovered the plan after searching her tablet and finding her teen daughter’s Snapchat conversation. That led Kennewick Police to contact the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office.
With the FBI, Sheriff’s Detectives went to Murphy’s Los Lunas home. “As they were clearing the residence, they came to a locked bedroom door and on the other side they could hear an adult male speaking and they halted, did some call out. After a short period of time, the door opened and Mr. Murphy surrendered to the authorities,” said Lt. Joseph Rowland.
Lt. Rowland explained the two had been chatting online for about six months prior to the alleged kidnapping. They connected through Snapchat and on Facetime. “I’m glad we had the outcome we did in this one but it’s definitely — it should be an alert to parents to be very careful with who your kids are communicating with online,” Lt. Rowland said.
Kennewick Police reported Murphy told the girl he was 21-years-old and worked for the Post Office. While sources confirm to KRQE Murphy is a postal worker, his date of birth reveals he’s actually 35-years-old.
Lt. Rowland said the young girl is okay and has been reunited with her parents. Murphy is expected to be extradited to Washington to face a judge on three felony charges, including kidnapping, attempted rape of a child and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. With the FBI now involved, Murphy could also face federal charges.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the United States Postal Service to ask if Murphy is still employed with the federal agency but they did not respond.