SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Police in Springfield say a 36-year-old man is behind bars after abducting a 13-year-old girl in Georgia and driving her to Illinois.
A press release from the Springfield Police Department says officers were dispatched before 7 a.m. Saturday to East Monroe and South 10th streets. A 13-year-old girl told dispatchers she had been abducted from Georgia, the release says.
Officers say they got to the scene and found the girl, who was crying while sitting on the front steps of a building.
Police say they identified her as a missing child from Cochran, Ga. They took her to Memorial Medical Center.
SPD detectives say they called the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center. Investigators say they interviewed the girl and were told she had communicated with the suspect on social media.
The release says the man picked her up in Georgia and drove her to Springfield, Ill.
With assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, detectives say they identified a possible suspect car. They found a similar vehicle on security camera footage where the girl was found, the release says.
“Further review of video in the area revealed an Illinois State trooper had been behind the vehicle and
conducted a registration check on it,” the release says.
Investigators say they learned the suspect had rented a car. The release identified him as Zachary Despain, a sex offender who lives near East Cross and South Fourth streets in Springfield.
Police say they found the rental car where he lives and got a search warrant for the vehicle and his home. The warrant was approved with help from the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s office.
SPD says its Emergency Response Team served the search warrant at 4 a.m. Monday. Officers say they found Zachary Despain at his home and took him to the police station for an interview.
The release says the man was arrested after the interview and booked at the Sangamon County Jail. Formal charges are pending.
Anyone with information concerning this abduction is asked to call the Springfield Police Department at
217-788-8311 or Sangamon County Crime Stoppers at 217-788-8427.