Feds Charge Man With Bringing Teen Girl From California To Casper
A Wyoming federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday on a Casper man accused of driving to Santa Rosa, Calif., to pick up a teenage girl and bringing her to Wyoming.
The indictment charges Luke Horneck, 22, with "travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct," according to U.S. District Court records.
If convicted on this federal count, Horneck could spend up to 30 years in prison and five years to lifetime probation.
Whether the federal indictment results in the dismissal the prosecution by the Natrona County District Attorney's office on two felony counts is not clear.
Earlier this week, he was bound over to district court after he waived his preliminary hearing on the local charges of custodial interference and sexual exploitation of a minor.
The case began when Casper police responded to a call from a California man who told them a 15-year-old girl had run away, and she might be with Horneck in the Casper area. Police then conducted a welfare check at a residence on Wolcott Street on Sept. 13.
Officers found a friend of Horneck. The friend said Horneck told him he was going to California to pick up the girl. The friend then learned the girl was listed in the National Crime Information Center database as a missing person and an endangered runaway.
Police later found Horneck and the girl at a hotel.
When interviewed, Horneck and the girl told detectives and an FBI agent they had been friends for more than a year, and put together the plan to leave California in August.
Horneck drove to California, picked up the girl and returned to Casper.
The plan was to stay at Horneck’s place until she was ready to return home. The hotel room was a backup plan.
Horneck said that he knew the girl was a teenager and picked her up to get her away from a bad family situation.
If convicted on the local charges, he could face up to five years in prison on the custodial interference charge, and between five to 12 years in prison on the sexual exploitation of a minor charge.
Horneck is being held on $15,000 bond awaiting trial in Natrona County District Court.
Meanwhile, the federal prosecutor filed a motion for a detention hearing because Horneck is a flight risk, and he needs to be detained to make sure he appears in court and is not a threat to others in the community.