116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
NORTH LIBERTY - A North Liberty man faces a federal charge, accused of hiding an underage Tennessee runaway in his home.
According to federal court documents, Joseph D. Foster, 46, met the girl on Snapchat when she was 13. The girl told investigators Foster traveled to Tennessee twice in 2020 to spend the night with her in a hotel.
On Jan. 2, the girl was reported missing from her Harrison, Tenn., home where she left a suicide note. A week later, the girl called her grandmother from Clarksville, Tenn., and said she wanted to come home.
An investigation into her disappearance showed the girl has been using Cash App. A review of the girl's transactions on the app led authorities to Foster in North Liberty.
In an interview with FBI agents, Foster admitted to recognizing the girl from an online chat forum but denied ever meeting her, according to court documents. He also denied paying the girl via Cash App.
Authorities said Foster's wife told them she caught her husband having conversations with people who appeared to be underage girls and believed he possessed child pornography. She also told agents that Foster had been away the day the girl disappeared.
Over the course of several interviews with the girl, authorities learned Foster had picked her up in his truck Jan. 2 and drove her to Iowa. Along the way, the girl took steps to prevent her movements from being tracked. She also told agents Foster provided her with a hotel room, hair dye, new clothing and food.
A couple of days later, Foster sneaked the girl into his home without his wife's knowledge, the girl told agents. Foster's wife slept on a separate floor, and the couple had a baby together, the girl said.
The day FBI agents came to speak to Foster, the girl was hiding in the garage, authorities said. After he was interviewed by federal authorities, Foster drove the girl to Clarksville and told her to deny she had ever left the state.
The girl told investigators Foster had sought sexually explicit images from her and that they engaged in sexual activity when she was with him in Iowa.
Court documents show Foster was arrested in Iowa City on Jan. 16. In February, he was indicted on one count of transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
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