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UPDATE: Fort Wayne man charged with rape of 11-year-old

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AUBURN, Ind. (WPTA21) – 29-year old Jeffrey Lockhart, who Auburn police say is a dangerous sexual predator, was behind bars Friday in the DeKalb County Jail on $50,000 bond.

He is accused of reaching out to an 11-year old girl he didn't know and grooming her before meeting and sexually assaulting the child.

Lockhart is charged with child molesting and rape.

The mother of the girl called Auburn police July 18 and said she'd discovered a string of inappropriate text messages on her daughter's phone.

Police say they found nude photos of a man sent to the girl, originating from a phone belonging to Lockhart.

There were some explicit photos of the girl sent back to him.

The girl was taken to a forensic center and during an interview eventually shared that the man had come to her mobile home park two days before and had sex with her inside his car, continuing the assault after she asked him to stop.

Police say Lockhart started messaging the victim July 9 on Snapchat.

Soon after, they started exchanging texts and that it didn't take long before Lockhart pressed for an in-person meeting.

The detective working the case says the victim agreed to the meeting, but she expected someone about her own age to show up.

"They're very, very good at what they do, I mean when you're looking at the timeline, you're going from…communication started on the 9th and the meet happened on the 16th. So that's a short period of time where a person was able to groom an 11-year old child," said Auburn police detective Aaron Quick.

The detective says he has contacted Snapchat to get copies of any messages Lockhart may have exchanged with this victim or other young girls.

Jazlynn Bebout

Jazlynn Bebout is the Assignment Desk Editor and Digital Editor at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @jazlynnsb

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