TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man who is accused of driving halfway across the country and kidnapping an Alabama girl he met online has been indicted on several charges, including human trafficking and child sexual assault.
19-year-old Daniel Skipworth is being held in the Smith County Jail on a $550,000 bond. A grand jury in June returned indictments on the following charges:
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Trafficking a child and engaging in forced sexual conduct
According to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News back in April, Skipworth met the victim online through Instagram messages and drove 10 hours from Tyler, Texas to Florence, Alabama, on the night of April 14. He arrived around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 15.
KETK News is withholding the name of the victim since she was a minor and the alleged victim of a sex crime.
The victim’s parents filed a missing person’s report that same day with the Florence Police Department. They contacted the FBI, who was able to track the girl’s cell phone until it was dumped.
The warrant states that FBI investigators “further determined that the movements of [the victim’s] phone were traveling with another number, later determined to belong to Daniel Dylan Skipworth.”
They were able to track Skipworth’s number back to Texas. He had returned from Alabama at 3:46 a.m. on Friday, April 16. FBI agents from Birmingham contacted Tyler PD and agents with the Tyler, Texas FBI office, who went to Skipworth’s house on April 17.
According to the documents, Skipworth’s father told them that Skipworth had traveled to Alabama in the past week, but was adamant that there was not a 13-year-old girl being held at the home.
His dad went up to Skipworth’s room and brought him to authorities. The warrant says that he was “uncooperative and upset that his family had allowed investigators inside their home. [Skipworth] eventually did confirm that [the victim] was inside his bedroom.”
In multiple interviews with investigators, the victim said that she had initially left her home willingly with Skipworth, but had a change of heart. She repeatedly asked him to take her back home over the two days, but he refused.
Skipworth told police that the victim had brought a small bag with a few belongings along with a computer. He said that the victim asked him to go back home, but claimed he was too tired from the trip and that he would take her later.
He also allegedly told police that “he had kept [the victim] concealed within his bedroom and took steps to provide her with food and to entertain her during her stay.”
Skipworth is being held in the Smith County, Texas Jail on trafficking, kidnapping, child sexual assault, and resisting arrest. His bonds total $560,000.