Man charged in 14-year-old Rowan County girl's kidnapping faces judge

CHINA GROVE, N.C. — A man charged with sex crimes against a 14-year-old Rowan County girl faced a judge Thursday.

Deputies charged 28-year-old Jake Kelly with indecent liberties with a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, first-degree kidnapping and five counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor.

Kelly didn't say anything when he appeared in court on the charges. He will hire his own attorney.

Officials said the 14-year-old, who was reported missing last Thursday, was found in Charlotte with Kelly on Friday.

The student at South Rowan High School was reported missing by her parents from her China Grove home around 3 a.m. Thursday.

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On Friday, detectives told Channel 9 that they determined the teen left her home and met Kelly.

Felony arrest warrants were issued for Kelly.

"I hope they find her safe and sound,” said Rowan County resident Roger Guard. “The person responsible for it needs to be brought to justice. This is the type of stuff that we can't have right now.”

Dozens of South Rowan students prayed for her safe return.

Deputies said the teen was found safe and is in good condition.

Kelly's next court date is scheduled for Jan. 16.

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