Dad finds naked man in wardrobe 'after coming over to romp with his 12-year-old daughter'
A father was shocked to find a half-naked man hiding in his wardrobe, with the man allegedly hoping to have sex with his 12-year-old daughter.
According to investigators, the father, who came into his daughter's bedroom at 5:30 am back on November 2 last year, found Christopher Todd Leonard in his wardrobe. He'd left his two daughters home alone as he stayed overnight at a friend's house, court documents say.
When the father returned to get ready for work, he says he found his front door was dead bolted, but his daughter let him in. As he went to change clothes and get ready for work, he found Leonard hiding in his wardrobe, where he had allegedly been waiting to have sex with his daughter (who Leonard believed was 21).
"Knowing this guy could have done something to my daughter and then knowing that I had another daughter that he could have done something to, it really affected me, and my family as well," the father said to KPRC Click2Houston.
Here's the full news report from KPRC Click2Houston:
According to court documents, Leonard was not in any way aggressive, explaining to the father that he had met his daughter on social media, and had been talking to her via Instagram and Facebook, saying he believed she was 21 years old.
The young victim, however, said to authorities that Leonard knew that she was 12 years old, and that they had met in a random encounter on a bus a few weeks prior. Leonard had allegedly given her his phone number, and the two had remained in contact via calls and text messages.
When law enforcement went through Leonard's phone, they found sexually explicit messages sent from Leonard to the girl. He's been charged with online solicitation of a minor, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
With a criminal record dating back to 1993, Leonard has several criminal charges against his name, including possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, and was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 1998.
"The man literally brainwashed her," the victim's father said.
"You got predators looking for your kids every day. They're trying to get them. Parents, just watch out for your kids on their cellphones and tablets," added the father - a sentiment echoed by Sydney Zuiker, who leads training on cybersafety for community groups and schools for Houston Crime Stoppers.
"Unfortunately, we see this daily. [Predators] like a bunch of stuff on [students'] social media, and then they'll start direct messaging them. The whole purpose of predatory activity is they just want to get the student to trust them."
In order to keep their children safe, Zuiker urges parents to keep an eye on who their young ones contact online, advising their kids on the inappropriate questions or information they might encounter.
"Really, what we're starting to see the most is predatory activity on social media and games. Know who your children are talking to," she explained.