A routine traffic stop in Canadian County led to the discovery of a missing California teen girl and the arrest of a Massachusetts man for child sex crimes on Wednesday.
A sheriff’s deputy patrolling I-40 initiated the stop after he spotted a black 2004 Ford F-150 truck following too closely to a semi. Diving the truck was 34-year-old Michael Papadonis, accompanied by a young female that the deputy noted looked as though she could be the driver’s daughter.
During the stop the deputy brought Papadonis back to his cruiser. When asked who the girl was Papadonis replied she was his cousin. He also told police they were driving back to Massachusetts.
The deputy, suspicious of Papadonis’ story, went back to the pickup to speak with the girl. The girl told the deputy that she was 14-year-old and did not have any identification, but corroborated that she was Papadonis’ cousin. She also told the deputy a story about why they were traveling together.
Still suspicious, the deputy asked Papadonis if he could search his pickup, but he declined. A K9 unit was then called in and the dog made a positive hit on the vehicle, which gave the deputies probable cause to do a search. The search then turned up disturbing evidence.
In addition to finding a glass pipe with some unknown residue, the deputies found several photo booth-style pictures of Papadonis and the girl kissing. The deputies also found a Los Angeles school ID card for the girl, confirming her age. When looking into the teen’s name, the deputies learned that the girl had been reported missing from LA County on March 7.
After a brief scuffle with the deputies, Papadonis was arrested. He was taken to the Canadian County Jail on one count of Lewd Acts with a Child and one count of Resisting Arrest. Narcotics charges are also possible pending lab results on the glass pipe. His bond was set at $51,000.
A female investigator with the sheriff’s office took the girl to the hospital for a SANE exam. At the hospital the girl admitted that she and Papadonis had sex just a few hours before the traffic stop.
“When the girl told the nurse they had sex just a few hours before being stopped by my deputy, she was telling her that the 34-year-old child predator had raped her,” said Randall Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff.
Investigators soon contacted the girl’s mother and discovered an even more disturbing story. The mother told authorities that she was aware of her daughter’s relationship, but did not give her permission to leave the state with Papadonis.
“I find it extremely disturbing that any parent could suspect a 34-year-old man is having a sexual relationship with their 14-year-old daughter, and not do anything about it. If she lived in Canadian County, I’d put her in jail too,” Edwards said.
The mother told investigators that she was going to pick her daughter up from school on Monday when she noticed that she was gone. That is when she filed the missing persons report.
It is unclear if the mother will face any charges in California.