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A Seymour man faces three felonies after he allegedly was involved in the runaway of a 14-year-old Seymour High School freshman student who did not return home on the school bus on Friday, Nov. 19.

Once a thorough investigation was completed by Sgt. Chase Davis, a detective from the Seymour Police Department, the teenage girl was recovered, while 19-year-old Felipe De Jesus Torres Jr., also of Seymour, faces the aforementioned felony charges.

Last week, Torres was charged with possession of child pornography, a Class D felony, fourth-degree child molestation with a child less than 17 years old and an offender greater than four years older, a Class E felony, and sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of 15, also a Class E felony.

As of Monday, Torres, who police said goes by the nickname “Junior,” was being held on a $200,000 bond at the Webster County Jail in Marshfield after charges were filed by Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser.

Torres was arrested and taken to the county jail by Davis, where he also was questioned by longtime investigator Rick Hamilton of the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.

“Felipe Torres Jr. admitted to touching (the 14-year-old juvenile girl) through her clothing and exposing his (private parts) to her,” Davis wrote in a probable-cause statement that described his investigation and subsequent arrest of Torres.

“He also admitted to sending and receiving nude photos through the Internet on his cell phone to (the young girl).”

Davis confirmed in an interview last Thursday that Torres is the son of the husband and wife who operate the El Patron Restaurant at Seymour’s north edge at the intersection of U.S. 60 and North Division Street.

He also confirmed that Junior Torres has been employed at the restaurant.

“This is where our investigation into the missing young girl began,” Davis explained.

“I’m not going to elaborate on this, but young Felipe’s parents weren’t helpful to us in that initial interview. His father, who runs the restaurant, actually was very aggressive with us and told us to leave.”

Once the girl was reported missing around 5:50 p.m. on Nov. 19, Ray Rodriguez, who serves as the Seymour Police Department’s school-resource officer for the Seymour R-II School District, checked the video cameras at the school and discovered that the girl entered a red passenger car northwest of the Seymour Middle School.

Davis said his officers received information that the girl could have been with Junior Torres.

That’s when Davis and Rodriguez went to the El Patron Restaurant and ultimately found Junior Torres, who told the officers that he had not seen the girl.

After further investigation, Davis, Rodriguez and Seymour Police Chief Steven Pogue returned to the restaurant and confronted Junior Torres with information that showed he was involved in picking up the girl from school, the police report said.

“Felipe Torres Jr. then agreed to show officers where the female was hiding at a duplex down the street from the El Patron Restaurant,” Davis said in his report.

Officers retrieved the 14-year-old girl from the residence on West Steel Street and returned her to her parents.

Living at the duplex, Davis said, were employees of the El Patron Restaurant.

“At that time, Felipe Torres Jr. was not arrested because there was not sufficient probable cause to determine that a crime had been committed,” the report said.

However, Davis continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding the runaway juvenile girl and Junior Torres, and he discovered that the two had been communicating via cell phone and that Junior Torres and the 14-year-old girl were in a relationship.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Davis wrote a search-warrant affidavit and search-warrant application for any cell phones that were owned by Felipe Torres Jr.

Webster County Associate Circuit Court Judge Chuck Replogle signed the warrant.

After the warrant was signed, Davis went to Junior Torres to seize his cell phone, showing him the warrant. Per his report, Davis said Torres provided his cell phone and then unlocked the phone’s password.

Another search warrant was obtained in order to search the contents of the cell phone.

“The contents of the cell phone showed that Felipe Torres Jr. had been communicating with the 14-year-old female and that he had also received nude photographs of a person under the age of 18 and had also sent photos of himself nude to a person under the age of 16,” Davis said in his report.

The report continued, “Contents of the messages on the phone confirmed that there was a relationship between Felipe Torres Jr. and the 14-year-old female that he had given a ride to on Nov. 19 and that the two planned on running away together.”

At 2 p.m. last Wednesday, Dec. 8, Davis and Patrolman Skylar McIntosh of the Seymour Police Department went to 126 East Garfield Street and arrested Junior Torres, who was handcuffed and read his rights. Davis then took Torres to the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, where he was interviewed by Hamilton, then was booked in at the Webster County Jail.

His arraignment was held via video conference from the county jail last Friday, where Torres entered a plea of not guilty, per court records.

Torres’ next court appearance arrives at 8:30 a.m. next Tuesday before Replogle at the Webster County Courthouse in Marshfield.

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