Federal authorities said they have rescued a 15-year-old girl from being prostituted by a Washington man who had advertised her on the Backpage website and took her to College Park to meet a man.
Melvin Longwood, age 31, was indicted on charges of transporting a minor for the purposes of prostitution. Authorities, working with the National center for Missing and Exploited Children, allege he used the girl between September and February.
The investigation began with a report of a missing teenager from Virginia. Maryland State Police then located an advertisement on the web site, which police said "is frequently used to post advertisements for prostitution and escort services."
An undercover detective made a "date" with the victim, using the telephone number posted on the Internet, and agreed to meet the girl at a motel on U.S. 1 in College Park. Police went to the room and found the girl.
Police said they watched the suspect go in and out of the room before detectives moved in, and seized his computer, iPod Touch, condoms and two cell phones. One of the phones, police said, used the number posted on the Internet ad, and the victim's phone had a text to the suspect, along with pictures of them together.
Longwood faces 10 years to life in prison if he is convicted. Police have not detailed how he and the 15-year-old got together.