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Kidnapped girl from South Carolina found in Florida, authorities say

A 13-year-old girl from South Carolina was found in Florida on Tuesday after she was allegedly kidnapped by a 35-year-old man from Wisconsin, authorities said.

The young teenager was reported missing from her hometown of Simponville, South Carolina, after she was last seen at her residence on Sunday evening, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, which initially described the girl as a “runaway” in social media posts.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in the Florida Keys said it received information that the girl’s alleged captor — Tyler Michael Berlick of Mukwonago, Wisconsin — may be heading to the area. Both he and the girl were found by deputies inside a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Key Largo shopping center early Tuesday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which said it has notified the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Berlick was arrested and charged with kidnapping. He was being held without bond in the Monroe County Jail in Key West, according to online records. A date for his arraignment had not yet been set.

Miami ABC affiliate WPLG reported that Berlick was awaiting extradition to South Carolina. Authorities said he had met the girl through an “online chatting service and gaming app,” according to WPLG.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the incident.

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