Man faces charges in connection with missing 14-year-old Tennessee girl found in Madison

MADISON -- A Madison man is facing federal charges in connection with a missing Tennessee teenager that was found in Madison. The girl's adoptive father was charged with rape out of Tennessee after she was found.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin said 31-year-old Bryan Rogers was charged Monday, Feb. 4 with knowingly persuading a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and such visual depiction was transported from Tennessee to Wisconsin.

A federal criminal complaint said Rogers came into contact with the Tennessee girl through an online game. She told him that she was being sexually assaulted. The complaint said the girl "sent him video of the abuse."

The federal criminal complaint said the missing girl was found "hiding in a closet" in Rogers' basement on Thursday night, Jan. 31.

Investigators spoke with Rogers after the girl was found. The complaint said he indicated he communicated with her online, and she "disclosed to him that she was being molested." He said he "instructed her to get a video of the rape," which she "emailed to him." He said he didn't send it to law enforcement because "he thought it would not stand up in court."

According to the complaint, he admitted to driving to Tennessee to pick the girl up, bringing her back to his home in Wisconsin. He said he "avoided tollways and gas stations with surveillance, and smashed her phone so that he would not be traced."

A search warrant was executed on Rogers' phone, and the complaint said chats were found on the phone between Rogers and the girl, starting in December of 2018.

The complaint said investigators searched Rogers' computer and found video the girl made at Rogers' direction, created on Jan. 10.

In a tweet shared Friday morning, Feb. 1, the FBI in Milwaukee thanked the Dane County Sheriff's Office and the Madison Police Department for helping to locate the missing teenager from Tennessee. In the tweet, the FBI said the 14-year-old girl was found in Madison around 8 p.m. Thursday night -- nearly three weeks after she was reported missing.

In earlier interviews with WVLT News in Knoxville, Tennessee, the girl's parents said she was last seen Jan. 13 at 11 p.m. at her Madisonville, Tennessee home.

Officials said her mother went into her room on the morning of Jan. 14 at 4:30 a.m. to find she was gone. Investigators said her bedroom window was open and other clothing was missing.

Madison police, along with the Dane County Sheriff's Office, confirmed that they assisted the FBI in locating her.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee said her adoptive father was charged with rape on Thursday, the same day she was found safe.

As for Rogers, if convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum or 30 years in federal prison.