VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An Orlando man was sentenced on Friday for sexually battering a 13-year-old girl he met online and then brought to a motel in Volusia County.
According to a WESH 2 News report, Tyler Thompson, 24, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for multiple sex charges in the February 2021 incident, to which he previously pled no contest. Thompson, who was 22 at the time, picked up the Oak Hill girl from school and then took her to a motel.
The girl was rescued that night by a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputy who went from hotel to hotel in Edgewood searching for her, only knowing Tyler’s first initial and that the fact that he was from Orlando. The deputy, Royce James, told a judge that the case sticks with him a year and a half later and he still finds it difficult to talk about.
“When she saw I was a deputy she came running to me and went into my left arm,” James told WESH. “She was thanking me for finding her, thanking me for saving her and getting her out of that situation. She wouldn’t leave my side the duration of my shift.”
James said that he was reminded of how young and innocent she really was in the hours he spent with her that night.
“I got her a soda. I let her play in my patrol car. She played with the lights,” he told the court through tears.
WESH said the 13-year-old bravely testified at the trial. According to a sheriff’s office incident report, the teenager told Deputy James, “I (do not) know how I did not recognize him as a pedophile. He seemed so nice.”
Thompson will have to register as a sex offender when he gets out of prison.