Federal authorities charged Carter, 35, of Jacksonville, Fla., under a federal law that makes illegal the taking of a person younger than 18 across state lines for sex. The maximum penalty is 30 years in federal prison.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville reveal that Carter built a relationship with Rosario Orr, then 12, for months over the Internet and by cellular phone, which culminated with him meeting her after school Friday and taking her to Florida.
Federal authorities found Orr in a tent near Carter's Jacksonville home
According to an 11-page criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Jonathan MacDonald, the timeline of Carter and Orr's interaction is as follows:
Carter made contact with Rosario Orr on the social- media website Facebook in April. Their relationship developed in the next three months.
Carter arranged to meet Orr
outside Central Middle School at about 4 p.m. Friday. Orr, who had finished her last day of seventh grade, sent a text message to her mother saying she needed to serve detention and would be home at about 3:30 p.m. She climbed into Carter's 1991 Chevrolet Blazer and he drove toward Jacksonville.
When Orr didn't come home, her parents, Shane Orr and Patti Mathias of Muscatine called police. While at the Muscatine police station, Mathias received another text message from Rosario Orr that said "her life was ending that evening."
Orr's friends told officials the girl had a "25-year-old boyfriend who was going to pick her up on the last day of school and take her to Texas or Florida."
Authorities used Rosario Orr's mobile phone records and information posted on her Facebook page to identify Carter as the suspect.
FBI agents staked out Carter's Jacksonville home. Carter arrived in his Chevy Blazer on Sunday. He admitted talking to Orr on the Internet and by telephone but initially denied knowing where she was.
Agent MacDonald asked Carter to call Orr's cell phone several times. During one attempt, Carter left a voice mail for Orr and "stated that he loved the child."
Eventually, Carter reached Orr on her cell phone. Putting the call on speaker phone so agents could hear it, Orr said she was staying at a friend's house but refused to identify the friend.
Carter finally admitted to agents that he drove to Iowa to meet Orr but denied any sexual contact. Carter told authorities the girl was staying a few blocks away from his Jacksonville residence.
MacDonald and another agent found Orr staying in a tent in a wooded area described by Carter.
Orr told authorities she and Carter spent the night in a Motel 6, but could not recall the state. She told agents Orr provided her "with alcohol which tasted 'fruity' and made her 'dizzy.' "
Carter told authorities "he understood that his involvement with the child constituted kidnapping" but Carter believed "he was intervening in order to prevent the child from committing suicide,"