GRAND HAVEN, Michigan - A Williamsburg, VA man is in custody in Michigan after police say he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl whom he had been talking to online.
Eric William Ortega, 21, was arraigned on three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Grand Haven, located approximately 35 miles west of Grand Rapids. Ortega remains in jail on a $200,000 bond.
According to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, the parents of the girl called police at around 11 p.m. Monday when they found the alleged suspect hiding upstairs in their Spring Lake home.
"I think what initially aroused their suspicion was that they noticed some items in the house that were out of place and didn't belong, and did some investigating and found the individual hiding in the home," said Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.
The victim's father told WOOD-TV their encounter with Ortega was not violent. It was clear Ortega knew the man's daughter, and Ortega soon fled the home.
Ortega was arrested Tuesday morning in the city of Grand Haven, Michigan, without incident.
Police say Ortega had corresponded with the 14-year-old for months via the Internet from his residence in Williamsburg. The two talked over the phone a few times as well.
Police believe Ortega had been in the Spring Lake area since March 5.
Police say Ortega committed the sex acts at a Spring Lake hotel and at the victim's residence off 148th Avenue in Spring Lake Township.
"There's no indication that she's been physically injured, which obviously is a main concern," Lt. Bennett said.
WOOD-TV spoke Tuesday night with the victim's parents. They were too distraught to go on camera, and say they are going through a range of emotions from anger, shock and sadness.
They say they are thankful the suspect was apprehended so quickly, and they urge other parents to do everything they can to monitor their children's activity on the Internet.
"I can tell you he was in possession of a computer when he came out here. We've also got a computer from the home of the 14-year-old that we'll be analyzing," said Lt. Bennett.
And police say Ortega could face even more charges for using the computer to carry out his crimes.
Police say they are offering counseling to the teenager and her family.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Ortega in Grand Haven on March 17. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.