KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man was arrested and charged in Knoxville by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with taking a minor across state lines to engage in unlawful sexual activity, according to a release by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Christopher D. Bruey is facing charges of transportation with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and simple possession/casual exchange.

Christopher Bruey_mugshot
Christopher Bruey. (Courtesy of Knox County Sheriff’s Office)

In the affidavit, investigators were looking for a 14-year-old who was reported missing in Missouri on Jan. 27. The Joplin Police Department got the phone from a family member and was able to find Snapchat messages between the teen and Bruey.

Bruey was sending messages wanting to “pick up and marry the teen,” and was “concerned with being arrested but he trusted the teen,” according to the affidavit.

A “be on the lookout” (BOLO) was issued for Bruey. Knoxville Police Department license plate scanners alerted them to a truck at a Value Inn near Magnolia Avenue and Cherry Street belonging to Bruey.

Bruey was found near his truck and agents detained him. They check Bruey’s vehicle and found 5.50 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and 2.07 grams of an unknown hash-like substance, according to an arrest report.

While checking the motel room, where Bruey reportedly stayed, they found the teen with an alcohol and marijuana order.

According to the teen, the two were sleeping in his truck after leaving Missouri but did not want to be in the cold so they got a motel room.

The teen originally denied having sexual contact with Bruey but then admitted to it, according to the affidavit. The teen claims to have met him at a church parking lot before they traveled to Tennessee.

The teen was taken to a safe location, according to a report.

The DOJ said that Bruey initially appeared in the U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Wednesday and that a trial will be scheduled later in 2023.

“Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is
presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the DOJ said in its release.