LEWISTON – A local man was arrested in California Thursday while preparing to board an airplane with a 14-year-old girl he met over the Internet, according to police in Modesto.

Daniel R. Fecteau, 49, of Lewiston was charged with child abduction when police found the pair early Thursday morning at the Sacramento International Airport.

Investigators said Fecteau was planning to bring the girl back to Maine, and said they had maintained a relationship over the Web for several months.

The girl’s mother had reported her daughter missing the night before after the teenager failed to show up at a friend’s house.

Police said the girl lied about where she was spending the night in order to meet Fecteau and fly to Lewiston with him.

Investigators working on the case learned through caller identification at the girl’s home that the teen had recently talked to someone in Sacramento.

Police believe that man was Fecteau. He had flown to Sacramento and began making arrangements to sneak the girl to the city airport, police said.

Following up on that lead, Modesto police began talking to neighbors who reported seeing the girl getting into a taxi cab with an older man. Investigators later learned the cab had delivered the pair to a Greyhound bus station, where they boarded a bus headed to the airport.

Modesto police called the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office and asked for help in searching the airport for the missing girl. About 1 a.m. Thursday, sheriff’s deputies called Modesto police to report they had found the pair and taken them into custody.

Fecteau was arrested on a felony charge of child abduction. He was taken to the Stanislaus County Jail where he remained Thursday night. Investigators said more charges will be filed.

The 14-year-old was turned over to the custody of her parents after she was questioned by police.

Fecteau, who married in Lewiston in 1992 and later divorced, met the girl earlier this year on the World Wide Web, police said. At the time, the 14-year-old was living in Turlock, near Modesto, with her mother.

Police said the girl’s mother became concerned about her Internet relationship with the Maine man and ordered her to stop chatting with him online.

Later, the girl moved to her aunt’s house in northwest Modesto to make money by baby-sitting, police said. But on Wednesday, the girl told her mother she was going to stay at a friend’s house in nearby Los Banos for the night.

Investigators say that was a ruse. They believe the girl and Fecteau had discussed their plans to get to the airport and fly to Maine together.

When the girl’s mother discovered her daughter was not at the friend’s house nor her aunt’s house, she called police. An officer went to the Turlock home and began investigating. It was that investigation that began to unravel Fecteau’s plans, police said.

“The patrol officer didn’t drop the ball,” said Modesto police Detective Doug Ridenour.

Back in Lewiston, Fecteau does not have a criminal history beyond traffic tickets, according to court documents. He was a trained emergency medical technician and once worked for the now defunct ACT Ambulance Service.

Police in Lewiston were alerted to the arrest Thursday afternoon when police officials from Modesto contacted them. The Maine Computer Crimes Task Force will be assisting with the investigation.

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