Man charged in teen’s kidnapping
DALLAS (AP) — A kidnapping suspect has been indicted after authorities say he abducted a 15-year-old girl in the Texas Panhandle and drove her to New Mexico, where he tried to force himself on her at a gas station.
A federal indictment filed Thursday charges Royce Wade Lander with kidnapping. He was arrested this month in St. Michaels, Arizona.
An FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit that the teenager was asking for a ride into Amarillo at a gas station outside the city in May when Lander overheard her and offered to take the teenager.
The teen got into his pickup, according to the affidavit, but the man did not drop her off in Amarillo. Instead, authorities say he drove her to New Mexico, where he stopped at a truck and travel center close to the Texas border and made her take a shower.
“While at the cashier, (the victim) said she muttered the word ‘help,’ but the clerk did not notice it,” the affidavit says.
In the truck afterward, the man rubbed her feet and started to touch her in “inappropriate places” against her will, according to the court record.
Lander, according to the affidavit, also made comments to the girl while on the road.
“He asked (the victim) questions like: What would you do if I raped you? What would you do if I dropped you off and forced you to live with another man?” according to the affidavit.
The victim reported being scared to leave because Lander had a knife and a sliver blade in the center console area of the pickup. His hand remained close to the knife, according to the document, which the teenager took as an implied threat.
At a gas station in Milan, New Mexico, Lander tried to force himself on top of the teenager, according to the affidavit. She fought back by punching him in the face. The teenager also tried to push him off of her, dislocating her shoulder in the process, the records show.
She got away, ran into the store and cried in the women’s restroom before walking around the station until an unknown truck driver asked if she was OK, according to the court documents. The truck driver agreed to give her a ride and bought her some food.
She was dropped off at a truck stop in Sayre, Oklahoma, where she went inside and a clerk contacted local police.
Authorities tied Lander to the kidnapping through his purchase history, the records show.