Fast food order led Rhode Island detectives to abduction suspect

Northeast

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (NewsNation Now) — Luis Martinez Romero, 34, suspected of abducting a 9-year-old girl in Providence earlier this week is being held without bail after a fast-food order helped police identify him.

The girl’s memory of a Burger King order, 10-piece spicy chicken nuggets and a soda, proved crucial in solving the case, according to detectives.

A police report filed with the court details how the young girl told police Romero took her to a remote location and sexually assaulted her, then drove to a Burger King drive-thru to buy her food, according to NewsNation affiliate WPRI.

Investigators went to multiple Burger King locations in Providence and Cranston and sifted through surveillance video until they spotted the suspect vehicle in the drive-thru at the 966 Park Ave. location in Cranston, Rhode Island. The manager found the chicken nugget order that happened at the same time, the report said, which gave detectives a debit card number.

He was arrested Tuesday and charged with kidnapping a minor and second-degree sexual assault.

“This dangerous individual has been removed from the streets of our city due to the swift and vigilant work of our officers who worked tirelessly on this case,” Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements said outside court on Wednesday.

Surveillance video released during the search showed the suspect grab the girl and force her into his SUV before driving away. Police said it happened around 3 p.m. Monday in the area Grover and Merino streets, right after the girl stepped off her school bus.

The girl was dropped off back at the bus stop about an hour later and told her parents she had been sexually assaulted, according to police. She was then transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to be evaluated.

If convicted, kidnapping a minor in Rhode Island carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, while the second-degree sexual assault of a child carries 6 to 30 years.

The judge also issued a no-contact order between Martinez Romero and the child.

NewsNation affiliate WPRI contributed to this report.

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