CANNON BEACH, Ore. (KOIN) — Russell Deviney, a 48-year-old suspected of kidnapping a 15-year-old California girl, was arrested by Cannon Beach police Thursday afternoon.
An alert resident recognized Deviney during her morning stroll, and immediately called police.
“Everyone is aware of what he looks like,” Kathleen Merritt, whose coworker spotted Deviney, told KOIN 6 News. “She has 3 children of her own, so she’s very protective of her kids as we all are.”
Deviney was found behind a locked gate in a privately owned area south of Cannon Beach, authorities said. When officers arrived, he reportedly said, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.”
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Astoria Police Chief Brad Johnston said Deviney was taken into custody without incident. He faces charges including first degree kidnapping, rape, unlawful sexual penetration, sex abuse, sodomy and coercion.
Chief Johnston said several credible tips helped authorities track and catch Deviney.
The victim was found at an Astoria McDonald’s on Monday.
California teen kidnapped by man posing as 18-year-old online
Over the weekend, a Sanger, California teen was reported missing by her mother. Deviney, of Everett, Washington, was suspected of kidnapping the girl whom he had communications with online.
She told investigators she had been chatting with a person she believed to be an 18-year-old named “James Russell” or “JR” on Instagram, according to court documents. On Friday May 8, the victim became “upset” with her mother and shared her feelings with “JR” who suggested they “go on a one-day vacation.”
The victim left her California home with an overnight bag, and went to an undisclosed location to meet “JR”, according to court documents.
Eventually, “JR” disclosed his name of “Russ” and revealed he was twice the victim’s age, according to prosecutors. The victim reportedly told Deviney she wanted to go home, but he allegedly refused.
Deviney told the teen he was taking her to Oregon. He reportedly took her cell phone and removed the SIM card, saying that police could use the device to track them, according to court documents.
“Once she realized the person she was meeting actually was a 48-year-old man, she was already in the vehicle and under Deviney’s control,” Astoria Police Deputy Chief Eric Halverson said. “The investigation indicates that the girl’s phone was disabled by Deviney and she was able to surreptitiously send a message to her mother at one point.”
The teen told police she recalled making several stops including a Chevron, Walmart, Lincoln Beach, crossing the Golden State Bridge and visiting Long Beach, according to court documents.
At a rest area in Oregon, prosecutors said the victim was sexually abused. Officials said Deviney began taking pictures of her while she was naked.
Teen escapes, suspect apprehended by police after days on the run
On Monday night, the teen was found at a McDonald’s in Astoria. Around 7 p.m., Deviney left the fast food joint. Police caught him on surveillance cameras at the U Street Pub in Seaside on Tuesday.
Surveillance images showed he had recently shaved a mustache. He allegedly asked someone how to reach Cannon Beach by foot.
On Wednesday, Seaside Police received a tip from someone who said they saw Deviney at the Seaside Outlet Mall the day before.
“This is just one example of how people engage unknowing users of the internet and misrepresent who they are and prey on children,” Astoria police said in a prepared statement.
In Wednesday’s press conference, Chief Johnston urged parents to discuss online safety with their children, to avoid events like this in the future. For more information, you can visit www.missingkids.com