BEACH PARK – Police said they rescued three Ohio children from a Beach Park man, who allegedly took them from their home state.
About 12:30 p.m. Jan. 21, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the parent of a missing juvenile from Middleton, Ohio. The parent said their two children, a 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl, as well as a friend of their daughters, a 15-year-old boy, all were missing.
The parent said one of the cellular phones tracked somewhere in the area of the 10600 block of West Yorkhouse Road in Beach Park, police said.
Lake County Sheriff’s dispatchers obtained additional information from the caller and learned that an unknown male driving a Ford Mustang left Middleton with the children about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 20.
Sheriff’s dispatchers searched an internal database and found Michael Negron, 19, of the 10600 block of West Yorkhouse Road, Beach Park, drove a Ford Mustang that matched the description of the vehicle that was seen in Middleton, Ohio, police said.
Sheriff’s deputies located the Ford with the three juveniles and Negron at a gas station in the area of Lewis Avenue and Wadsworth Road in Beach Park.
Negron was arrested and taken to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division. The juveniles were taken to safety at the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.
Further investigation revealed Negron had been communicating with the 12-year-old for several weeks on Fortnite, SnapChat and other social media platforms, police said.
Negron drove to the Middleton, Ohio, area on Jan. 18 and stayed at a hotel, police said. It is believed he interacted with the three juveniles several times during his stay in Middleton. He then left with the three juveniles on Jan. 20 and drove to Beach Park. One of the children texted a parent a description of the car they were in, which helped the sheriff’s office locate Negron and the juveniles.
It is unclear what exactly Negron’s intentions were with the children, police said.
After hearing the facts and circumstances of the situation, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved one count of kidnapping and three counts of child endangerment.
Negron was being held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing. Additional charges are possible, police said.