DENVER – Westminster police said Thursday they had arrested a 30-year-old man for investigation of sexual assault on a child in connection with the Amber Alert that was issued Wednesday for an 11-year-old girl.
Michael Patrick Buckley, 30, was arrested on a charge of sexual assault on a child – pattern of abuse, the police department said.
An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday morning for the girl after she had been missing since 3:30 p.m. the afternoon beforehand. She had left her home on Newcombe Street to go to Countryside Park but never checked back in with her parents.
Authorities fanned out across the area to search for the girl, but she was found Wednesday afternoon. Police said only at the time she was found in unincorporated Jefferson County and was safe.
The department said he was in custody at the Jefferson County jail but that it would not be releasing further information about the arrest. But an affidavit for Buckley’s arrest details the allegations against him involving the girl.
It says the girl had been at the park earlier in the day, came back home and then asked to go back to “meet a friend.” When she didn’t return home at 4:30 p.m. as she had agreed to do, her parents called police and reported her missing.
The affidavit says on Wednesday morning, a resident called in to Westminster police to report that a girl matching the missing girl’s description had asked to use a contractor’s cell phone who was working at their house.
The contractor was interviewed by police and said the missing girl walked up to him around 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday asking to use his phone “to call her boyfriend,” according to the affidavit. The person she called was identified on caller ID as “Buckley McHI Ro.” Twenty minutes later, she asked to use it again, called the same number and told the contractor “her boyfriend” was five minutes away.
The contractor told police the girl was claiming to be 23 years old, and she told him “she had recently met her ‘boyfriend’ a few days ago through a Craigslist ad where her boyfriend was selling rats,” the affidavit says.
A man later identified through license plate and driver’s license records as Buckley came and picked her up, according to the affidavit. Detectives got approval to track his cell phone and tracked him to his home.
When he opened his door, an officer yelled for the missing girl, who responded that she was getting dressed. She also told detectives she and Buckley had sex several times inside his home.
Buckley was taken into custody and refused to make any statements without an attorney present but did tell officers the text messages in his phone would show the girl was portraying herself as an adult, according to the affidavit.
“We know there is inherent interest in this case and what occurred over the last couple of days,” Investigator Cheri Spottke wrote in a news release. “This is an open and ongoing case and to protect the integrity of the investigation we will not be releasing any additional information after this press release."
Spottke also said that the family of the 11-year-old girl is still asking for privacy.
The family of the girl, whom Denver7 is not naming because she is a minor and possible victim, released a statement through the police department on Wednesday after the girl was found:
“We are so grateful to have [the girl]home and safe. We would request privacy. It is very comforting to know that families like ours are supported by a close-knit community and overwhelming response from the Westminster Police Department along with all the other first responder agencies who step up to help,” the family said. “We just want to offer the biggest thanks to all who helped us in a time of need.”