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Fla. cops find missing teen when she logs on to video game

The 16-year-old logged on to her online game account at the man’s house, leading investigators to her whereabouts


Thomas Ebersole, 31.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office/TNS

By Garfield Hylton
Orlando Sentinel

DUNNELLON, Fla. — A 31-year-old Florida man faces several felony charges after allegedly hiding a 16-year-old teenager from another state.

Detective Henrik Osthed of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrested Thomas Ebersole on Wednesday, according to a press release from the MCSO.

FBI officials asked Det. Osthed for help locating a missing 16-year-old girl from Ohio.

Investigators used the victim’s account on World of Warcraft, an only role-playing game, to locate her whereabouts, according to the press release.

They saw the account was used at Ebersole’s home address in Dunnellon, Florida.

When law enforcement contacted Ebersole, he initially denied knowing her. He later admitted to driving to Ohio to meet the victim and bringing her back to his house.

He told authorities he was in a relationship with the victim and planned on hiding her in his home to become his wife.

Ebersole also showed Osthed messages that he planned to meet the victim in Ohio and have sex with her, even though he knew it was a crime.

Authorities charged him with traveling to meet a minor to engage in sex, child custody interference and sheltering an unmarried minor.

Officials are holding him without bond at the Marion County Jail.


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