ATLANTA — A Mexican man who’s in the U.S. illegally took a teenage girl against her will from Texas to Georgia for sex, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
A Nov. 14 indictment alleges that Andres Castaneda-Guzman, 24, kidnapped a minor and transported her across state lines for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing Monday, according to online court records.
“This kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor is stunning,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said Tuesday in an emailed statement, adding that prosecuting violent crime, including child exploitation, is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Castaneda-Guzman went to a party in Terrell, Texas, on Sept. 2 for the upcoming 15th birthday of the teen, who is a distant relative of his, according to statement from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent filed in federal court in Atlanta.
The teen, who is identified in court documents only by her initials, told an investigator that Castaneda-Guzman had moved to Texas from Georgia in August and that she had been turning down his advances for several weeks, but he had become increasingly jealous and possessive in the days leading up to the party, the agent’s statement says.
She told the investigator she had no idea Castaneda-Guzman was going to take her to Georgia.
The party, which was held at a family friend’s house, was still going around 1 a.m. on Sept. 3, when Castaneda-Guzman offered to take the teen to meet some guests who had been unable to find the party and to help guide them back. Instead, he drove her to Georgia, the agent’s statement says.
The teen’s family noticed she was no longer at the party and reported her missing around 2:30 a.m. Party guests told responding officers the teen had been seen getting into Castaneda-Guzman’s black Chevrolet Tahoe SUV. Family members tried unsuccessfully to call Castaneda-Guzman.
A friend told the teen’s family that Castaneda-Guzman was taking the teen to Jonesboro, Georgia, where he’d lived before, and the family started the drive to Georgia.
The teen told an investigator that they stopped briefly at a trailer park in Jonesboro where Castaneda-Guzman’s former in-laws live, the agent’s statement says. She said one of the former in-laws caught her trying to use a cellphone to contact her family and removed the battery.
Castaneda-Guzman then took the teen to a hotel in Stockbridge on the night of Sept. 3 and forced her to have sex with him, the agent’s statement says.
The next day, Sept. 4, Castaneda-Guzman took the teen to the home of one of his friends. After the teen’s family and Clayton County police officers both went to the home of Castaneda-Guzman’s former in-laws that evening, the in-laws contacted him and said police were looking for the teen.
Within minutes, a taxi brought the teen to her family. The taxi driver said he’d picked her up at a home in Forest Park, the agent’s statement says.
The teen’s mother told the federal agent that she’d had no reason to suspect or fear that Castaneda-Guzman would take her daughter and that her daughter did not have permission to leave home with Castaneda-Guzman.