POLK COUNTY, FL – A man who thought he was traveling to Polk County to have sex with a 15-year-old girl instead met up with police officers who resumed the online conversation he was having with the girl.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports detectives from the Special Victims Unit arrested a Hialeah man Monday, August 16, 2021, for traveling to Polk County in order to have sex with a 15-year old girl.
27-year old Erick Rabelo was arrested by detectives as he entered Polk County, after arriving at Orlando International Airport a short time prior. He was charged with Sexual Battery (F1), Travel to Meet a Minor (F2), Unlawful Use of 2-Way Communication Device (F3), Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child for Sex (F3), and Aggravated Stalking (F3).
“The victim’s mom did the right thing by immediately calling us. The detectives working this case were thorough and swift, getting a dangerously twisted man behind bars. This guy is so messed-up that he actually got a tattoo on his forearm with the victim’s name and the date they met on Snapchat.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Detectives first became involved with this investigation Monday morning after the mother of the victim received a text message at 7:16 AM from Rabelo, introducing himself as the person who was “dating” the victim for a year and three months and claiming that he got her pregnant.
According to the affidavit, the victim said she met Rabelo via the social media app Snapchat on May 16, 2020.
The victim said that Rabelo traveled to Polk County on July 3, 2021 for the purpose of meeting up with her. He rented a room at the State Motel in Haines City, and visited the victim at her home. Once there, he sexually battered the victim against her will.
Detectives recovered text messages from the victim’s cell phone. The following are messages from Rabelo, and sent to the victim:
· “I never ever loved you”
· “You were just another person for me to (expletive)”
· “And you know what (victim’s name) you’re right I did rape you”
· “I rape a 15yo child”
· “I’m a pedophile”
Detectives made contact with Rabelo via text, posing as the victim. During the text conversation, Rabelo said he would purchase a plane ticket to fly from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to Orlando International Airport.
When he arrived in Orlando, detectives followed the vehicle he was travelling in, and arrested him once inside Polk County.
Rabelo admitted to detectives that he had traveled to Polk County on July 3rd and sexually battered the victim.
The investigation is ongoing.
“Parents, please monitor your children’s on line activities. Make sure there are parental controls on any electronic device your children have access to.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff