Man used dating app to lure 13-year-old Belleville girl to motel for sex, police say

Earl Rice
Earl Rice Provided

A 60-year-old Missouri man convinced a 13-year-old girl to have sex with him by interacting with her on a dating app, police say.

Earl G. Rice, of Dittmer, Missouri, was initially charged with two counts of possession of child pornography on Feb. 16, immediately following his arrest. On Friday, he was charged with three additional counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse.

Rice was not in police custody as of Friday evening.

Police responded to a Belleville home at about 6 a.m. Feb. 15 to follow up on a report of a runaway 13-year-old girl. When police arrived, the girl had returned. Belleville police officer Jackie Laminack spoke with the girl, identified in court documents as C.J., to make sure she was OK.

C.J. initially told Laminack she had stepped outside her home to get her shoes when an unknown person grabbed her and kidnapped her, according to a search warrant affidavit. But as Laminack asked for additional details, C.J.'s story began to change.

When Laminack asked to speak to C.J. alone, the girl told her that she had met a man on the dating app "Mingle." The man called himself Duke, and they had been speaking for two days.

C.J. told Laminack she had left her home at about 10 p.m. Feb. 14 to meet with Duke in a parking lot at South 71st Street and West Main Street, according to the affidavit. C.J. got in the car with him, and they drove to the Super 8 motel on Main Street in Belleville, where they had sexual intercourse.

The girl told Laminack that Duke knew she was 13 years old and that she believed Duke was around 60, according to the affidavit. She then said she was feeling suicidal, and EMS transported her to the hospital.

At the hospital, C.J. told a nurse that she had not known Duke was 60 years old prior to meeting him. She said they had "consensual sexual intercourse" several times. A 13-year-old is not legally able to consent to sex. C.J. also said she had fallen asleep at the motel and woke up at about 5 a.m. to Duke's penis inside her again, according to the affidavit.

When Laminack went to the motel, she saw Duke's car still in the parking lot. When Laminack looked up the car's registration, she saw it belonged to Rice, according to the affidavit. Room rental information showed the room was Rice's, and surveillance footage showed C.J. and Rice at the motel.

Rice was taken into custody at the motel, and police seized his laptop and several cellphones. He later posted bond and was released.