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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Monday, April 10, 2017

Maryland Man Charged with Enticing a Minor for Sex

Amber Alert Led to Minor's Recovery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Maryland man was charged in federal court today with enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity following an Amber Alert issued over the weekend.

William Lee Dela Cruz, 22, of Maryland, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. Dela Cruz, who had an initial court appearance this afternoon, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s 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 charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

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.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 10, 2017