A 40-year-old Brandon man is accused by authorities of recruiting a 17-year-old Georgia girl to become his "slave," bringing her to Florida, keeping her captive in his home, sexually assaulting her and making her watch child pornography.
Thomas Hill, 40, was arrested on Feb. 6 by Hillsborough sheriff's deputies. But the state dropped those charges on Friday as federal officials sought charges in federal court.
Hill had been freed on bail since February, but court records indicate he was arrested again on Friday.
An FBI agent filed a complaint in U.S. District Court seeking charges of enticement of a minor and production of child pornography. It details the case against him:
Hillsborough sheriff's investigators were alerted Feb. 6 when a patrol deputy spotted the girl running east along W Sadie Street in Brandon, near McLane Middle School. She was crying, seemed scared and told the deputy she wanted to go home.
The girl, who was not named in the complaint, was listed as a missing person in Georgia. She later told deputies she'd met a man online and that he drove to her home in Georgia and took her away from there, without her parents' knowledge.
Investigators identified the man as Hill, who lived in the area where the girl was first spotted.
The girl went on to tell deputies that she met Hill through a social media application in December, the FBI agent wrote. They chatted for a few weeks. Hill told the girl he wanted her to become his "slave," according to the complaint. She laughed it off.
Hill also offered to let her stay with him, and help her get a job, the complaint said, until she turned 18.
During their chats, the girl lied to Hill, telling him that her parents were going to "sell" her, according to the complaint. He later drove to Georgia and took her back to Florida. Until then, the girl said she thought the man she'd been chatting with also lived in Georgia. She also learned his actual age.
The first few days in Brandon seemed normal, she told investigators. She stayed in a separate bedroom in Hill's house. Then she said Hill started sexually assaulting her, coercing her with physical violence. She said he would slap her if she refused, the complaint stated. Hill also made her perform chores such as cleaning dishes and the laundry.
She told investigators that Hill made her watch about 25 child pornography videos on his computer, including one involving an infant, according to the complaint. She said he also took nude photos of her with his cell phone.
When detectives interviewed Hill, the complaint said, he told them he went to Georgia to "rescue" the girl, and that she was "living" with him.
Investigators obtained search warrants for Hill's electronic devices. They recovered Skype chat transcripts with his username, "thrichierich," the complaint said. The pair exchanged more than 3,000 messages since November.
Hill talked about going to Georgia to meet the girl, the complaint said, and told her he loved her. She called him "master."
It was not known Friday which local jail Hill was being held in after his arrest.
Contact Dan Sullivan at email@example.com. Follow @TimesDan.