Man charged in case of missing Seymour girl


Staff Reports

An 18-year-old from Champaign, Illinois, has been charged with kidnapping and having sex with a teen runaway from Seymour.

The 13-year-old girl was reported missing from Seymour by her mother around Feb. 16.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz told The News Gazette of Urbana on Tuesday she has filed charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated unlawful restraint, criminal sexual assault and kidnapping against Roberto Fransisco Nicholas-Simone of Champaign.

The charges stem from activity that allegedly occurred between March 3 and 6, Rietz said.

The teen was on probation and had an ankle bracelet she reportedly cut off and left behind when she left to meet up with a man with whom she had made contact on the internet, Rietz said. She described the girl as a chronic runaway.

Federal authorities became involved and learned the girl was at the Church Street home of Nicholas-Simone by pinging a cellphone she used to call her mother to say she wanted to come home but was being held against her will.

Rietz said local police officers who also serve as U.S. Marshals saw the girl through a second-floor window of the house March 6. The girl ran out a back door and was taken into custody by the officers, who also arrested Nicholas-Simone.

Rietz said the girl told authorities when she left home, she went to an apartment complex in Seymour to get together with the man she had met online. That man took her for a ride to an area she was unfamiliar with — Champaign — and allegedly sold her to Nicholas-Simone for $600.

Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said Thursday his officers plan to interview the girl once she has been brought back to the county, but at this time, there is no evidence she didn’t initially leave here involuntarily or there is any criminal activity associated with her leaving.

Nicholas-Simone was alleged to have kept her locked in the second-floor room and had sex with her daily between March 3 and 6, Rietz outlined in the charges.

Nicholas-Simone, who hails from Guatemala, was brought to court Monday, where Judge Adam Dill set his bond at $750,000. He was expected to be arraigned with the help of a translator on the felony charges. The most serious, criminal sexual assault, is a Class 1 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison.

A pretrial hearing for Nicholas-Simone has been set for 9 a.m. April 28.

Rietz said the case remains under investigation and federal immigration authorities are likely to become involved.

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