PAHRUMP, Nevada (CBS/AP) A young girl who was seen being sexually assaulted in a homemade videotape has been found and is safe with family members and sheriff's officials, an investigator said Friday.
“We found the victim. She's safe,” Nye County sheriff's Detective David Boruchowitz told The Associated Press.
Widespread media accounts of the case led to the crucial tip that helped find the girl, Boruchowitz said. He did not provide details of her identity, where she lives or how she was located.
Earlier in the day, authorities put the name “Madison” to the haunting face of the young girl authorities believe was 4 or 5 years old when she was raped and sexually assaulted in the video.
Authorities upgraded fugitive Chester Arthur Stiles from a “person of interest" to a suspect in the sexual assault. Stiles, 37, whose last known address was Las Vegas, is also wanted on an unrelated state warrant on a charge of lewdness with a minor younger than 14 and a federal charge of being a fugitive, said Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo.
DeMeo says the girl was found safe today with her mother. He says authorities believe the mother had no knowledge of the abuse her daughter had endured. DeMeo says the mother recognized furniture in the video.
Sheriff's Detective David Boruchowitz says Stiles relationship to the girl's family is "on a several-tier friend connection." He would not elaborate.
The girl's now 7 years old. DeMeo says she seems like a happy, healthy child.
Investigators determined that the video of the attack was recorded over the video of an 11-year-old girl taped in October 2005 through a window of a Pahrump home, DeMeo said.
Officials identified that girl, now 13, after releasing photos taken from the video and matched to records of a “peeping Tom” report at her home. No one was found outside the girl's home when deputies arrived, and the girl wasn't assaulted, authorities said.
A 26-year-old Pahrump man, Darren Tuck, surrendered the tape to Nye County sheriff's investigators Sept. 8 after another man reported seeing it, Boruchowitz said.
Tuck was arrested on charges of promoting child pornography and possession of child pornography, both felonies, and released without bail pending an appearance Nov. 26 in Pahrump Justice Court. The top charge carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison.
Tuck told detectives he found the videotape in the desert outside Pahrump more than five months ago. Investigators don't think Tuck made the tape, Boruchowitz said.
Tuck's lawyer, Thomas Gibson of Pahrump, has characterized Tuck as an innocent middleman who should be credited for giving the tape to authorities.
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