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Press Release

Additional Charge Against Maryland Man for Enticing a Minor for Sex

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Maryland man previously charged with enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity was indicted by a federal grand jury today.

William Lee Dela Cruz, 22, of Maryland, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Dela Cruz on April 10, 2017, and includes an additional charge. Dela Cruz remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

Today’s indictment charges Dela Cruz with traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. The indictment also contains the original charge of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, an Amber Alert was issued for the 12-year-old victim, identified in court documents as “Jane Doe,” on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Members of the public contacted law enforcement in response to the Amber Alert and she was recovered in Wentzville, Mo., the same day. Dela Cruz was arrested by Wentzville police officers.

Jane Doe told investigators she had been involved in an online relationship with Dela Cruz since November 2016 (when she was 11 years old). They communicated through telephone, Skype, Facebook Messenger and Discord (an application that provides free voice and text options, especially for communications between individuals involved in the gaming culture). Jane Doe stated she met Dela Cruz online through the computer game Onigiri, a multi-player fantasy online role-playing game.

On Saturday, April 6, 2017, Dela Cruz and his brother (who has not been charged) drove from Maryland to Missouri to pick up Jane Doe with the intent of driving her back to Maryland, according to the affidavit.

During the drive back to Maryland, the affidavit says, an argument between the brothers occurred. As a result, Dela Cruz’s brother dropped them off at a service station and drove away. Dela Cruz and Jane Doe attempted to obtain a room at the Hampton Inn in Wentzville but did not have sufficient funds for a room. Instead, they slept on a couch in the lobby of the hotel.

Larson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore. It was investigated by the FBI, the Blue Springs, Mo., Police Department and the Wentzville, Mo., Police Department.

Updated April 19, 2017

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