Man arrested second time for sex crimes against child

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Statesville man has been arrested for the second time in four months and charged with sex crimes against a child, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

In December, Jake Robert Kelly, 29, was arrested on charges of first-degree kidnapping, dissemination of obscene material to a minor, indecent liberties with a child, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The case involved a missing 14-year-old girl from China Grove.

The girl was reported missing by her parents on Dec. 20. Sheriff’s investigators determined that she left home and met Kelly about 3 a.m. that day, and the two traveled to Statesville.

Rowan and Iredell county investigators searched Statesville and other places in Iredell County but did not locate the pair. Kelly and the girl were later found together at a hotel in south Charlotte and were taken into custody by Rowan County sheriff’s detectives.

In February, Kelly posted bond on those charges and was released from the Rowan County Jail to await his trial.

On April 10, sheriff’s detectives were notified that Kelly had contacted the teenager on a social-media messenger site. An investigator with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office conducted a five-day undercover operation and chatted with Kelly on that site. Kelly believed that he was communicating with the teenager.

Kelly sent sexually explicit messages and arranged to meet the victim near China Grove on April 15 to have sex. When he arrived at the meeting place, he was met by Rowan County sheriff’s detectives and arrested.

Kelly was charged with solicitation of a child by computer and two additional counts of dissemination of obscene material to a minor.

He was placed in the Rowan County Jail under a $100,000 secured bond.

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