South St. Paul man charged for kidnapping of Kansas teen


Dechon Michael White

A 22-year-old South St. Paul man was charged July 9 in federal court for the alleged kidnapping of a 13-year-old Kansas girl who he met online.

Dechon Michael White faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to federal court documents, Lenexa, Kansas, police received a call around 11 p.m. July 4 about the missing girl from her mother.

The mother told police a "friend" of her daughter came to stay at their apartment on July 1. White allegedly represented himself as a 16-year-old, and was allowed to stay in the girl's room. He had traveled to Kansas City via a Greyhound bus. Court documents say the mother suspected White may have been as old as 18.

On July 4 around 2 p.m., the girl and White told the mother they were going to a nearby mall. Later that day, the mother lost phone and text contact with her daughter, so she reported her missing. 

According to court documents, law enforcement was able to identify White and learned he was 22-years-old. The mother confirmed from a driver's license photograph that White was the man who stayed in her apartment.

Officers went to the Greyhound Bus Station in Kansas City, Missouri, and spoke with employees. The employees confirmed that White allegedly purchased a round-trip ticket from St. Paul to Kansas City with an arrival of July 1, and a departure back to St. Paul on July 4. 

Video surveillance showed the girl and White arriving at the station on July 4 around 4 p.m., at which time a one-way ticket to St. Paul was purchased using White's middle and last names. 

According to court documents, video surveillance on the bus to St. Paul showed White sitting with the girl.

On July 6, Kansas law enforcement contacted the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul for assistance. Law enforcement in Minnesota found an address where White was receiving state benefits. Around this time, a tipster contacted local police to report seeing White in the area of that residence with a young girl.

South St. Paul police went to the residence and allegedly found the girl there with White. Both were taken to the police department. 

 

How the two met

According to court documents, the girl told an FBI agent she had met White online during spring break and they continued talking through various social media apps. She had initially represented herself as a 16-year-old, but later told White she was 12. The communications continued via social media up to White's planned trip to Kansas City. 

Once White was there, he and the victim allegedly decided to tell her mother he was only 16 so he could stay at the apartment. 

It was discovered that on July 2 and 3, White and the victim allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse at the mother's apartment, court documents say.

After White arrived in Lenexa, a plan was allegedly developed for the victim to return to St. Paul with him. This plan included telling the mother they were going to the mall, when in reality they would travel to the Kansas City bus station, according to court documents. White used the girl's money for taxi fare to the station and the ticket. 

The victim told the agent she did not have sex with White in Minnesota, but had told him she would be willing to do so in the future. 

White allegedly told an agent he met the victim online this year and that he knew she was only 12 when he decided to travel from Minnesota to Kansas. 

At the time of White's arrest, officers noticed a backpack and another bag with personal effects. A search revealed letters from him to the girl, in which he professed his love and deep appreciation of her.

Dakota County charges against White, including deprivation of custodial/parental rights, were dropped July 9 because he was charged in federal court. White has previously been convicted of trespassing on school property in Dakota County in 2014 and theft in Ramsey County in 2015.

--Hannah Burlingame

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