A 35-year old man from Slater, MO recently pleaded guilty in federal court to transporting a 16-year-old victim across state lines for illegal sexual activity.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 35-year old Daniel Lee Kirby pleaded guilty to the charge contained in a July 11, 2018, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty, Kirby admitted that he transported an individual under the age of 17 between March 4 and June 25, 2018, with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

The 16-year-old victim was reportedly discovered missing from her bedroom in East Ridge, Tennessee, in the early morning hours of March 4, 2018. Kirby was employed as a truck driver with Celadon Trucking, who reported their GPS tracking of Kirby’s rig showed him at a nearby parking lot, with its motor off, at approximately the same time.

Although Kirby denied having contact with the child victim, Celadon Trucking searched Kirby’s rig for the victim on multiple occasions after receiving tips he was harboring her.

Then on June 25, 2018, law enforcement received information that the child victim was living with Kirby in Slater, MO. She was located with Kirby, who was arrested, and placed into emergency foster care by the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division.

Kirby told investigators he met the victim on Facebook. He considered her to be his girlfriend and admitted they had a sexual relationship. Authorities say Kirby agreed with and assisted in her plan to run away, and solicited her to move in with him. He also admitted that he picked her up in Tennessee and transported her to Missouri.

Kirby is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole and could face up to life in prison.