KOKOMO, Ind. — When police asked 53-year-old Michael Horne of Kokomo why he thought he was sitting in the police department being questioned by officers, the man reportedly answered that it might have something to do with the missing 14-year-old boy found in his bathroom with an apparent hickey on his neck.
According to court documents, police arrived at Michael Horne’s home on Independence Drive in Kokomo on Sunday in search of a possible runaway 14-year-old. Police were led to Horne due to a Flock camera system catching Horne’s Tesla leaving the area where the child was last seen.
After tracing the Tesla to Horne, police showed up at his residence and ended up searching his home after he granted the officers permission. Horne allegedly told the police they wouldn’t find anyone else inside.
But officers found the missing 14-year-old standing in Horne’s bathroom with the door partially closed. The juvenile was reportedly “very lethargic” and “out of it”. He also had what appeared to be a hickey on his neck.
When police later spoke to the teenager, he told police he couldn’t remember how he got the hickey but knew it hadn’t been on his neck the night before.
Court documents reveal that when police asked Horne about how the missing boy wound up in his home, Horne at first claimed the teenager approached him at a gas station and asked for a place to stay. He denied ever touching the boy when asked about the hickey.
Police then told Horne they were going to DNA swab the boy for traces of Horne’s DNA. When asked if there would be any reason Horne’s DNA might be on the boy, Horne reportedly said, “Well…” before pausing for a long moment and then asking for a lawyer.
Court documents detail that police later searched Horne’s phone and found photographs of him and the 14-year-old together in Horne’s Tesla. Horne also is accused of possessing a nude photograph of the teenager.
Police determined that the photographs appeared to be saved from the Kik messaging app, but the app apparently had been deleted from Horne’s phone, according to the court documents. Police stated that Kik is an app often used for “nefarious reasons”.
Previous reports detail that Kik is often used by child predators to message with their underage victims.
Horne was arrested under a count of promotion of child sex trafficking, a Level 3 felony. If convicted, Horne can face between three and 16 years in prison.