Former Ft. Bragg Private Sentenced to More Than 12 Years After Taking 12-Year-Old “Girlfriend” Across State Lines in Fake Kidnapping
NEW BERN, N.C (STL.News) A South Carolina man was sentenced today to 151 months in prison for transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to court documents and statements made during hearings, on the morning of October 21, 2018, a New Bern woman found that her 12-year-old granddaughter was missing from the child’s bedroom. The window was open, and a hand-written ransom note demanded $20,000 for her return. Investigators found mulch from a flower bed on the granddaughter’s bed and smudges on the window but no sign of forced entry. They reviewed the granddaughter’s Facebook account and found a page that identified the defendant James Murdoch Peele as a boyfriend.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that Peele was enlisted in the US Army and stationed at Ft. Bragg. They traced him to a barracks room, where the same afternoon they found Peele together with the minor victim. A forensic examination confirmed that Peele had recently had sexual intercourse with the minor.
Law enforcement interviewed a friend of Peele’s, also a soldier stationed at Ft.