A five-day search for a missing Fort Lauderdale teenager ended with her safe at home and a man behind jail for the first time in his life.
Fort Lauderdale Police arrested James Pescovitz-Gider, 20, Wednesday on two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor. Court documents alleged that Gider first met the 14-year-old victim in June and stayed in touch using an online messaging application.
FLPD detectives said the girl and Gider met last Friday morning and went back to a local hotel where they stayed for five days. During those five days, the girl’s family was desperately searching for her, as was law enforcement around the area.
Fort Lauderdale Police said Gider impersonated an FBI agent and had sex with the teenager. During his first appearance in bond court, his attorney argued that no one would “believe he’s an FBI agent” and that the sex was consensual.
“Maybe to you and I, we’d realize he’s not an FBI agent, but to a 14-year-old vulnerable girl, at that age, they’re not as worldly as you and I,” Broward County Judge John Hurley responded.
Gider is being held on $15,000 bond. The teenager is back home with her family and they have requested privacy.
Gider's father was also in court Thursday, but would only tell NBC 6 that the entire incident was a surprise to him.
Fort Lauderdale Police said anyone with more information on the incident should call Detective Brice Brittenum at 954-828-5898 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).