On Sunday, February 12, 2023, Little Elm Police Department responded to a report of a critical missing 16-year-old female reported missing from her home in South Paloma Creek.
That evening, an extensive search was conducted, including foot patrols, vehicle grid searches, drones and tracking dogs.
The canines tracked the missing teen to a location not far from her residence, where they subsequently lost the scent of the teen, leading detectives to believe she got into a vehicle.
LEPD issued a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, with the missing teen listed as a missing and endangered person.
Late in the evening of February 13, LEPD detectives received a phone number that the missing juvenile had been communicating with up until she left the residence. Detectives identified a potential suspect and vehicle using multiple open-source information databases, cameras, and various investigative tools.
LEPD detectives identified the suspect as Richard S. Laird of San Antonio. Additionally, detectives learned Laird had communicated online with the juvenile before her disappearance.
Laird is a truck driver based out of southeast Dallas. Detectives went to this location and were able to locate a semi-truck operated by Laird and found the teen inside the truck’s cab. LEPD detectives and officers from the Dallas Police Department were assisting the victim when Laird returned to his vehicle.
Laird was taken into custody without incident.
Laird is currently in the Denton County Jail on the charge of aggravated kidnapping. His bond was set this morning at $500,000. Additionally, detectives have served nine additional warrants for the sexual assault of a child. He has not been arraigned on these charges.
The juvenile was reunited with her family after being examined and medically cleared.