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Missing girl, 11, found in Tampa; suspect arrested on child sex abuse charges

The girl was seen on video getting into a car with two males at a New Port Richey 7-11 store.
An 11-year-old Pasco County girl who had gone missing on Monday was found safe early Tuesday in Tampa, Two teens have been arrested in connection with her disappearance.
An 11-year-old Pasco County girl who had gone missing on Monday was found safe early Tuesday in Tampa, Two teens have been arrested in connection with her disappearance. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 13
Updated Apr. 13

An 11-year-old girl who had gone missing on Monday was found early Tuesday at the home of a Tampa man who was later arrested on multiple charges, including child sexual abuse.

An AMBER alert was issued for the girl on Monday evening. The alert was canceled early Tuesday morning.

The girl went missing Monday morning after being last seen at River Ridge Middle School in New Port Richey. Investigators later found video that showed the girl at about 12:20 p.m. Monday inside a 7-Eleven store at 8018 Moon Lake Road. She was seen leaving the store and getting into a dark four-door Hyundai with two males, later identified as Reginald Clark, 19, of Jacksonville, and a 17-year-old from Clearwater, investigators said.

Clark was the driver and the 17-year-old was a passenger. The two met the girl through social media, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. The two teens were later arrested on charges of interference of child custody. The Times is not naming the 17-year-old because he is a juvenile.

The girl was later found at the home of Luis Alberto Encarnacion, 22, in the 200 block of Pasadena Drive in Tampa, investigators said.

The girl thought of the man as her boyfriend, the sheriff’s office said. Encarnacion was arrested on charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery, concealing the location of a minor and unlawful use of a communication device.

“This 22 year old acted like a predator on this little child,” Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said in a news conference on Tuesday. “This is something that’s societal, we have to fight against this where adults go after these young kids.”

The Sheriff’s Office said they are working with community partners to get the girl resources to address the traumas she experienced.

The girl’s name and photo were made public by the sheriff’s office Monday while she was missing. The Times published the girl’s name and photo while she was missing, but later removed her name and photo from all stories after she was found.