A Marine based at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune traveled to Pittsburgh for a Christmas Eve encounter with a 13-year-old girl he met online, authorities said.
Lance Cpl. Johnathan Plaisance, 20, was arrested Christmas Day in Harrisburg after the girl's parents reported her missing. Plaisance had been communicating online with the girl for several months and brought her a diamond engagement ring, police said. He may have thought she was 15, police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said.
The pair stayed at a motel before boarding a Greyhound bus to North Carolina, where Plaisance is on active duty at Camp Lejeune, police said.
Police traced the relationship after examining the family computer and the girl's account on the MySpace social networking Web site, Stangrecki said. FBI agents joined the case and helped track them to a bus station in Harrisburg where police arrested Plaisance on Tuesday night.
They brought him back to Pittsburgh early Wednesday and arraigned him on charges of interfering with the custody of a child and child concealment, according to police and online court records.
It was not immediately known if Plaisance, who was jailed, has an attorney.
The Marine Corps says Plaisance joined up in June 2005 and was trained as an intelligence communications operator. He joined the 2nd Intelligence Battalion in July 2006. Marines say his decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
The case will be transferred to U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh once the FBI completes its investigation, police said. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh did not immediately return calls seeking comment.