Police said Liam Heim, 21, of Gulfport, Florida, will be charged in two states after traveling to New Jersey to meet with an underage girl.
By Matt Skoufalos | March 31, 2018
A 21-year-old Florida man who allegedly traveled to Philadelphia with a 12-year-old Collingswood girl he met on a gaming chat app will face charges in two states.
Liam Heim, 21, of Gulfport, Florida, was charged by Collingswood Police with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, according to a statement released by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) Saturday night.
Heim was also charged federally, by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia, with transportation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
He is being held at a federal detention center in Philadelphia awaiting a Monday first appearance and a Tuesday detention hearing.
Heim and the girl were located by detectives from multiple police agencies Friday night. The CCPO statement said they were found in a hotel on Bartram Avenue in Philadelphia, and that Heim was arrested without incident.
The girl had been reported as a missing person Friday afternoon after having failed to return home from school Thursday.
The pair reportedly met on Discord, a social app for gamers that bills itself as “a free voice, video, and text chat app for teens and adults ages 13 and up.” Accessible via browser, desktop, or mobile device, Discord allows users to accept chat invitations or to create private services for gaming and conversation. The service compares its offerings to those of apps like Ventrilo, Teamspeak, and Skype.
Group chat logs between Heim and the Collingswood juvenile that were provided to NJ Pen seem to demonstrate that the two had struck up a public, virtual relationship prior to his arrival in New Jersey on Thursday.
“[We] are dating. Yes I know her age and yes I know the consequences,” Heim wrote in one post.
“Frankly, I don’t care. I’ve always followed my heart, and I’m tired of resigning myself to loneliness and sabotaging all of my previous love interests…
“So here I am publicly announcing that I love [redacted], and I’m content with that, and there’s nothing anyone can say to change my mind about this,” he wrote.
Other screenshots show Heim and the 12-year-old planning to video chat in private, and hoping to keep their conversation secret from her parents.
“I guess it might be best not to get caught then,” Heim wrote.
“I feel like I can’t survive without you,” the girl replied.
In one exchange, Heim asked if the girl would follow him to work, and “pull me away whenever I was alone from anyone and do stuff to me where no one could see.”
“That too,” she replied.
Other exchanges are more explicit; when Heim suggested exploring kink and bondage, the girl reported feeling triggered.
But in another, she urged the group to “dare me to lick my camera, I’m on video chat with Liam.”
“I realized something,” the girl wrote in another post. “I’m the most chill 13-year-old girl when people flirt with me.”
Collingswood Police Chief Kevin Carey said the girl has been returned to her family. Support services from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency are available to victims of crimes involving child welfare.
The chief said he is also interested in working with members of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) Cyber Crimes Unit to create a middle-school-aged curriculum for children in the district. He urged parents to be vigilant about their children’s online activities.
All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
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