RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a Georgia man on numerous charges including sexual assault and exploitation of a minor.
Derek Jerome Nelson, 30, is being charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation to commit a felony, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and failure to stop for blue lights.
Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 7, Richland County deputy spotted a vehicle parked at a vacant business in the 4700 block of Alpine Road.
When the deputy approached the vehicle and turned on his lights, he saw two people in the back seat. He then witnessed a man climb into the driver’s seat. The driver fled causing a chase.
At least twice during the chase, the vehicle braked hard and drove off the road. The deputy saw what he thought were parts of the vehicle flying in the air during the stops.
After coming to a stop, the driver, later identified as Nelson, approached the deputy wearing only a t-shirt. He was instructed several times to return to his car.
Nelson told the deputy he was “hooking up” with a girl he met on the internet. He said he got scared when the deputy approached his vehicle, and that’s why he fled. Nelson also said that the girl had jumped out of the vehicle during one of the stops.
RCSD deputies searched the area where Nelson said the girl had jumped from the vehicle and found her with injuries to her hands, arms, and legs.
When approached by one of the deputies, the girl said she was “thrown from the car” by her boyfriend. She was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Further investigation revealed that Nelson had traveled from Augusta, Ga., to meet someone he said he met on an online dating site.
At the hospital, investigators learned that the person Nelson was with was actually 13 years old. The teen referred to Nelson as her 30-year-old boyfriend.
Nelson told investigators that he thought the girl was 18 years old. However, in a message he sent to the teen, he wrote, “You are my 13-year-old doll.”
He is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.