The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control arrested Austin E. Myers, 65, Denver, Missouri, for kidnapping, sexual trafficking of a child, and sodomy. The arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Offices of Worth County, Mo., and Columbia County, Ga., the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Nodaway County Juvenile Office, and the assistance of the Voices of Courage Child Advocacy Center, of St. Joseph.

According to a press release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, on the evening of April 24, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office was informed of the possible location of a “runaway” juvenile, by the Columbia County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office. The juvenile was reported to have run away from her home in Georgia and possibly at a residence on Highway M, in Denver, Missouri. Deputies from the Worth County Sheriff’s and a trooper from the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to the residence, in an attempt to make contact with the juvenile. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the juvenile from Georgia and Myers, who was the resident of the home. Preliminary investigation indicated, the juvenile had “run away,” from her home in Georgia and was at the residence upon her own volition. The juvenile was taken into custody and transported from the residence by the Nodaway County Juvenile Office, which serves Worth County.

Then, on April 25, an interview of the juvenile was conducted by the Voices of Courage Child Advocacy Center, of St. Joseph. The interview was attended by investigators of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control. The interview and further investigative leads indicated the juvenile had not been at Myers’ residence willingly.

On April 26, investigators of the Division of Drug and Crime Control and deputies of the Worth County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Myers’ residence located on Highway M, in Denver, Mo. As a result of their search, investigators seized computer equipment believed to have been used during the crimes. Members of the Division of Drug and Crime Control’s Digital Forensics Investigative Unit conducted forensic examinations on the computer equipment seized. As a result of the investigation, Myers was arrested and transported to the Worth County Sheriff’s Office.

The Worth County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office formally charged Myers with first degree kidnapping, second degree sexual trafficking of a child and first-degree sodomy. Myers’ bond was set at $125,000. He is currently being held at the Ringgold County Jail, in Mount Ayr, Iowa. Myers is being housed in Iowa, based on a standing agreement between both states and the sheriffs’ offices. The investigation continues by the Division of Drug and Crime Control and the Worth County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a press release from the highway patrol, the Division of Drug and Crime Control encourages Internet users to promptly report to any law enforcement agency, anyone who attempts to engage in unwanted, inappropriate, or sexualized communications with children. If you, or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave- please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at: 1-888-3737-888; or text 233733 (BeFree).