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James Dean (Boulder County Sheriff's Office)
James Dean (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to remove the teen’s name and image because officials now consider her the victim of a crime.

A Boulder man was arrested after detectives found a missing 14-year-old girl in his home Thursday.

James Dean, 51, was arrested on suspicion of violation of a custody order and harboring a minor.

The 14-year-old girl was reported missing after going to Manhattan Middle School on Wednesday, according to a release. She walked in to the school, but was marked absent from all classes.

According to an affidavit, Dean was already under criminal investigation for sexual assault on a child for having on ongoing illegal sexual relationship with the girl.

Police on Wednesday searched Dean’s unit in the 5100 block of Santa Clara Place in Boulder as well as the unit of his adult son who lived upstairs, but officers did not find the girl.

According to a release, detectives with the Boulder County Digital Forensics Lab worked with members of the FBI and the Boulder County Drug Task Force to track a social media post made by the girl after she went missing to Dean’s residence.

Detectives applied for a warrant to search Dean’s residence again Thursday and this time were able to find the girl hiding in the bedroom.

The girl admitted she had also been hiding in the bedroom the first time police searched Dean’s residence.

Friends of the teen also told detectives the girl had been planning to run away with Dean for months and that they helped her by moving her clothes to his place or letting her use their phones to communicate with him and send him photos.

Dean initially claimed the teen showed up to his home just before searchers arrived on Thursday. But after being confronted with her statements, he said “She showed up. Emotional. Freaking out. Crying. Scared to death. What was I supposed to do?”

Court records show a judge had granted a temporary restraining order against Dean in which the teen was the protected party.

Court records also show that the case had a hearing on Wednesday, and that a permanent restraining order was being sought.

Colorado law states a person commits violation of a custody order when “any person, including a natural or foster parent, who, knowing that he or she has no privilege to do so or heedless in that regard, takes or entices any child under the age of eighteen years from the custody or care of the child’s parents, guardian, or other lawful custodian or person with parental responsibilities with respect to the child.”

Dean has no prior criminal history in Colorado other than a traffic case.

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