6.5 Hutton

Contributed photo/NCSO

Nicholas B. Hutton, 19

JASPER -- Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler said a social media contact led to the discovery of a runaway and the arrest of a 19-year-old male subject on suspicion of rape and other charges.

Wheeler said his office received a call Sunday afternoon that a 13-year-old girl entered a business in the county stating she had run away from a home in Missouri and wanted to get back home.

A deputy went to the scene and found the girl, then confirmed that she had been entered into the National Crime Information Center's national database as a runaway juvenile. Wheeler said she had been taken to Newton County to visit her "boyfriend."

The deputy took the girl back to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. Officials in Polk County (Missouri) and the girl’s mother were contacted.

Investigators learned the girl had been taken to Newton County to meet with 19-year-old Nicholas B. Hutton, who she had met via Facebook, Wheeler said.

“The girl stated that while she was with Hutton, they had sexual intercourse,” the sheriff said.

Wheeler said investigators interviewed Hutton and he admitted to the sexual encounter.

Hutton was initially arrested on suspicion of rape, but a check of his phone revealed nude and inappropriate photos of the girl, Wheeler said. Hutton also faces charges of possession of sexually explicit digital material.

"It's so easy now for children to fall prey to folks who can use social media and other outlets to find victims,” Wheeler said. “I'm just glad this young lady is now safe and back with her family in Missouri.”

The sheriff further encourages parents to be well aware of what their children are viewing and taking part in while online or using social media.

"You're still the parent and have every right to know what your child is looking at and who they are talking to online." Wheeler said.

Records show Hutton was still being held Tuesday night in the Newton County Jail.

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