Holland Man Travels to Kansas for Sex with Teen

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jun 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-11 22:23:23-04

RICHARD JESSIE SMITHHOLLAND, Mich.- Richard Smith, a 46-year-old Holland man, has been charged after police say he traveled more than 600 miles to meet a 16-year-old girl for sex.

 Smith was caught with the girl at a motel outside Lenexa, Kans. and arrested for the explicit sexual pictures they exchanged on the internet along with harboring a runaway.

 Police say Smith used an Amtrak Train to get to the girl, then took a cab, showing up at her house around 2 a.m. Saturday.  When the girl’s parents realized she was gone in the morning they called police who then discovered her online relationship with Smith.

The 16-year-old’s mother didn’t want to reveal her identity but talked to our sister station in Kansas City.

“I thought my daughter was dead,” she said.

She also says Smith pretended to be a 16-year-old boy when talking to her daughter online When her daughter went missing, she claims she got messages from Smith still pretending to be the 16-year-old boy.  

He told her that her daughter was okay, but that she didn’t want to talk.

“I even said to him `Please as a mother, you should understand, I want to talk to her, I want to hear her voice,” she said.

The girl’s phone was detected at the Lenexa Inn after she was reported as a runaway onSaturday.  Her and Smith were found there early Sunday morning.

Police say that Smith had two Greyhound Bus tickets with him, and the girl’s mother believes he had every intention of brining her back to Holland with him.  He is currently in a Kansas jail held on a $25,000 bond.

The incident has prompted the mother to caution parents about what their children are doing online.  

“It’s very awful and I want everybody out there to please always watch your kids on Facebook because there is so much out there,” she said.

Computer experts say that there are simple tips parents can use to insure their children are safe online.

Casey Cochran of Imperial Computer Solutions says it’s important to establish rules about social media from the beginning, and be open about them from the beginning.  

Spokespeople from the FBI say that the Internet is sometimes used as a vehicle for predators to get to kids.  They have more than 10 offices throughout Michigan with agents devoted specifically to crimes against children.