Armed felon arrested after 15-year-old travels from Texas to Charlotte County to meet

An armed felon from Georgia was arrested and faces charges after being accused of holding a 15-year-old girl against her will after she traveled from Texas to Charlotte County.

Charlotte County deputies went to a home on Ohara Drive in Port Charlotte Friday after a girl from Dilley, Texas was reported missing.

Several days prior, a 15-year-old girl got on a flight for what the parents believed to be an all-inclusive church retreat in Florida.

After not hearing from the girl for days, the family contacted the Dilley Police Department.

Her phone was located at a home on Ohara Drive, which is when Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office was contacted.

“It’s really scary,” Jamie Macncham-Case said. “I’m glad that they were able to catch her or to find her right away, but it’s scary that someone coming from another state to just pick up a teenager and go to some random house.”

That random house was right next-door to Mancham-Case.

“It’s scary to know just living next-door,” Mancham-Case said. “I had no idea what’s going on in the house next to me.”

Once on scene, deputies knocked on the door and said they saw a man run to the backroom, refusing to open the door or acknowledge the deputies.

Deputies identified the owner of the white Buick in the driveway as a Georgia resident.

The owner of the property was contacted and was able to get ahold of the man and persuade him to come to the front door, along with the girl.

Vincent Joseph Robusto, 38, a convicted felon out of Georgia, was detained pending the investigation.

While talking with the girl, deputies learned that she was attempting to open the door but was held back by Robusto and told to stay quiet.

She said she remembered getting off a plane in Fort Myers and then walking down a street where she was greeted by Robusto.

The two went to the rental where Robusto was staying and they had dinner and the girl was given a vape pen with an unknown substance, deputies say.

Detectives contacted the church camp where she told her family she was going, but they said she was not registered for the camp and had never attended their church.

Detectives also report friends of the juvenile told them the 15-year-old had been communicating with an older man via social media.

“I teach high school, so a lot of children right now like to chat and get online, and you just never know who you’re talking to on the internet,” Jennifer Blanche said.

After searching the rental, deputies say they found Vincent Joseph Robusto was in possession of eight rounds of ammunition, which were inside a magazine of a semi-automatic handgun.

Robusto was arrested and faces the following charges:

  • False Imprisonment of a Person Against Their Will
  • Interference with Custody of Minor
  • Possession of Firearm Ammunition or Weapon by US Convicted Felon
  • Drug Paraphernalia – Delivery to Minor
  • Possession of Firearm Ammunition or Weapon by US Convicted Felon

The Florida Department of Children and Families worked with authorities in Texas to reunite the girl with her parents.

Robusto’s bail is set at $325,000.

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:WINK News
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