TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man arrested over the weekend in a cross-country kidnapping case allegedly took an Alabama girl from her house after they met online. New documents reveal that he is accused of taking her back to Texas and sexually assaulting her.
Victim Goes Missing
According to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News, 19-year-old Daniel Skipworth met the victim online through Instagram messages and drove 10 hours from Tyler to Florence, Alabama, on the night of April 14 and arrived around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 15.
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 Dylan’s number back to Tyler and had returned from Alabama at 3:46 a.m. on Friday, April 16. FBI agents from Birmingham contact Tyler PD and agents with the Tyler FBI office, who went to Skipworth’s house on April 17. Police also said Skipworth tried to bite one of the officers.
According to the documents, Skipworth’s father told them that Daniel had traveled to Alabama in the past week, but was adamant that there was not a 13-year-old girl being held there.
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.”
On April 18, the victim accused Skipworth of sexually assaulting her multiple times while she was hidden in his room. She accused him of pulling down her pants while she was asleep and covering up her mouth when she began to cry out.
The victim also said that she begged Moody to stop, but he dismissed her, saying “It’s fine.” She also claimed that she stopped him from touching her during the car ride from Alabama, but Skipworth denied this happened.
Skipworth is being held in the Smith County Jail on trafficking, kidnapping, child sexual assault, and resisting arrest. His bonds total $560,000.
Human trafficking in Texas
Cases like this happen often in Texas. The state is number two in human trafficking after California.
“The rise in younger and younger children having cell phones and now they’re targeting online gaming systems. I know kids of all ages have their microphones. They’re talking while they’re playing their gaming system and there’s texts going through the whole time. You know there are criminals who troll that,” said Andy Erbaugh, Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer.
Police recommend that parents check their children’s social media accounts, whether it’s Facebook or an online gaming account.