Had it not been for an observant employee at the Dollar General Store in Bristol, 21-year-old Thomas Hutchenson Smith III might have accomplished his mission.
Just after 9 a.m., Dep. Nick Finch of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Dollar General Store after a white male was spotted walking into a wooded area behind the business with two young girls.
According to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Dep. Finch spoke with the man who identified himself as Smith. Dep. Finch asked where the girls were and Smith said they were back in the trees. Dep. Finch couldn’t locate them, so Smith dialed a number on his cell phone and one of the girls, discovered to be 13 years of age, came from behind the store. She said her friend had left with her mother, so Dep. Finch had them call her back to the business. A few minutes later, the second girl , age 15, arrived with her parents.
After questioning, the 13-year-old eventually admitted the had met Smith on an internet site known as MyYearbook. com back in January and had been texting on her cell phone with him ever since. She said he came to town in February and they “hung out in the bushes behind the Dollar Store.” She admitted Smith was coming to Liberty County Monday so the two could engage in sex.
Smith confessed to Inv. Brian Bateman and Dep. Finch he had planned to have sex with the girl and knew she was only 13. He later backed off his confession, stating he never really intended to go through with the plan. However, explicit text messages were discovered on Smith’s phone indicating the plans he had for their meeting. Smith also admitted to telling the girl he had to stop for condoms on the way over.
He was booked into the Liberty County Jail for traveling to meet a minor, as well as driving while his license was suspended or revoked with knowledge.