American man suspected of sexually abusing Rotterdam girl, 12

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention centerPhoto: Politie

A 49-year-old American man arrested in the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl from Rotterdam on Friday, is suspected of kidnapping and sexual abuse her, the Public Prosecutor said in a statement on Monday to NL Times. The man was arraigned on Monday and remanded into custody for two weeks while the investigation continues.

The 12-year-old girl, Hania left her Rotterdam school at around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, telling a teacher that she had an appointment at the orthodontist. Her family sounded the alarm when she didn't arrive home at her usual time. The police issued an Amber Alert for the girl - an alert issued only if the police believe a missing child is in life threatening danger - after investigation showed that she had no orthodontist appointment and that chat conversations she had on a tablet had been deleted. On Friday morning the police released photos of the suspect wanted in connection with her disappearance. The pre-teen girl was found with the American man in a Rotterdam hotel on Friday evening. The man was arrested. Hania was offered aid.

The man was initially only suspected of withdrawing the girl from parental authority, but further investigation also gave rise to the suspicion of sexual assault, the Prosecutor said. "The investigation into what exactly happened to the girl between the time of her disappearance and the moment she was found is still ongoing."

American authorities assisted in the investigation, the Prosecutor said to NL Times.

The suspect is in restricted custody, which means that he is only allowed contact with his lawyer. It also means that the police and Public Prosecutor are limited in what information they reveal to the public

According to Dutch news agencies RTL Nieuws and AD, the suspect is James B. from Louisiana in the United States. He has a daughter with a Dutch woman, whom he allegedly raped 19 years ago. The daughter and Hania know each other through Star Stable, an online roleplaying video game centered on horses. The daughter told RTL Nieuws that B. made contact with her and Hania through the game's chat room. 


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