Ad Spot

Former Ft. Bragg private sentenced to over 12 years in prison after taking minor across state lines in fake kidnapping

A South Carolina man was sentenced April 6 to 151 months in prison for transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

According to court documents and statements made during hearings, on the morning of October 21, 2018, a New Bern woman found that her 12-year-old granddaughter was missing from the child’s bedroom. The window was open and a hand-written ransom note demanded $20,000 for her return, stated the release. Investigators found mulch from a flower bed on the granddaughter’s bed and smudges on the window but no sign of forced entry. They reviewed the granddaughter’s Facebook account and found a page that identified the defendant James Murdoch Peele as a boyfriend, according to the release.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that Peele was enlisted in the US Army and stationed at Ft. Bragg. They traced him to a barracks room, where the same afternoon they found Peele together with the minor victim,” stated the release. “A forensic examination confirmed that Peele had recently had sexual intercourse with the minor.”

“Law enforcement interviewed a friend of Peele’s, also a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg. The friend described how a week before the apparent kidnapping, Peele had asked for a ride to his ‘girlfriend’s’ house in New Bern. Peele had shown a photo of the victim and claimed that she was 18 years old. When they arrived, however, Peele instructed the friend to park at a vacant neighboring house, and Peele entered the home through a window,” the release continued. “The friend also entered the room and became concerned about the girl’s age after noticing childlike décor, including middle school photographs and a hamster. The friend explained to investigators that he had become disgusted and left the room when Peele and the minor began kissing.”

Investigators determined that on the morning of October 21, after leaving New Bern, Peele drove the minor victim to his parents’ home in South Carolina. “During a brief stay, he introduced the 12-year-old to his parents as his girlfriend and claimed that she worked in a sewing shop. They stayed for less than a half-hour before Peele’s sergeant called and Peele had to return to base,” stated the release.

Back at Fort Bragg, Peele’s barracks roommate was present when Peele arrived with the minor shortly before noon, according to the release. As the roommate later recounted to investigators, the minor stayed in the room as Peele left to meet his sergeant. “Later, Peele returned and asked his roommate to turn up his music, which the roommate understood to mean that Peele planned to have sex with the girl behind a sheet that had been hung across the room for privacy. The roommate left, and the FBI arrived soon after,” stated the release.

During a forensic interview, “the minor victim stated that she and Peele had been involved in a sexual relationship. She had told Peele her true age, and he responded that age is just a number. She admitted that she had not been kidnapped but denied coming up with the idea to stage a kidnapping,” the release continued.

“After his arrest, Peele made a videotaped confession. He admitted to having sexual intercourse with the minor victim. He also admitted to writing the ransom note, although he stated that the victim had asked to leave with him and had come up with the idea of staging a kidnapping,” stated the release. “Peele claimed that he believed the victim was 18 years old, but he admitted that he saw her at a sleepover with friends who looked very young, including one girl whose age he had seen to be 12 years old.”

G. Norman Acker III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Craven County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jake D. Pugh and Erin Blondel prosecuted.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Driver faces multiple charges after child struck, killed in North Carolina

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 years in prison for drug, firearm charges

News

Enrollment for North Carolina Medicaid managed care ending

News

New permit facilitates transfer of shellfish for restoration projects

Crime

North Carolina man found guilty, sentenced to more than 100 years in prison in attack on college students

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbery, carjacking and kidnapping

News

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Currituck

Currituck commissioners approve design proposal for Moyock Elemntary School expansion project

News

Duck reviews options for dogs on the beach, recognizes firefighter

News

Scramble on for new fuel routes after Colonial Pipeline hack

News

Beaufort County woman finds ‘the lucky one’ to win $200,000 prize on scratch-off ticket

News

Tricolored heron: Looking for next meal?

News

Dare commissioners consider spending extra money now

Lifestyles

Dare County Library reopens facilities at all three locations

News

North Carolina football player, brother identified as boating accident victims

Crime

Man and woman charged after North Carolina gas station line fight

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to 18 years in prison for methamphetamine-related charges

News

North Carolina man wins $100,000 Cash 5 jackpot

Business

Piers of the Outer Banks: Nags Head Fishing Pier

News

Kitty Hawk Town Council hears about youth fishing tournament; Perry will not run for re-election

News

North Carolina man hooks $1 million scratch-off prize

News

NC bill exempts lawmakers, others from concealed gun limits

News

States push jobless from virus recession to return to work

Crime

North Carolina man accused of sex crimes facing new charges

News

Nash County woman snags $200,000 prize from scratch-off ticket

Crime

Elizabeth City man arrested in Kill Devil Hills on firearm and drug charges