MELBOURNE, Fla. - A 65-year-old homeless man was arrested Wednesday morning after investigators say he failed to contact deputies when he encountered an 11-year-old runaway girl, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said.
The girl was last seen at her home at about 2 a.m. Wednesday and deputies believe she met John Martin Kelly III in the area of the Northgate Shopping Plaza off Wickham Road.
“The child confided in Kelly that she was running away from home,” a Sheriff’s Office media release said. “Kelly then bought food for the child and offered to let her stay with him in his van, as he was homeless.
“Kelly advised the child that he would not contact law enforcement or her family.”
The girl went with Kelly, who drove to a wooded area in Melbourne, investigators said.
When Kelly fell asleep, the girl ran away and was found at about 9 a.m. walking on Wickham Road just south of Lake Washington Road, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The girl was safely returned to her family, deputies said.
Kelly was located at a convenience store in Melbourne, where he was arrested, the Sheriff’s Office said.
He was charged with interference with child custody and was being held at the Brevard County Jail on a $2,000 bond.
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