Federal prosecutors filed charges against a 41-year-old Duluth man Wednesday for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
Todd Richard Franik allegedly grabbed the girl off a street in Duluth on Monday afternoon, while the girl was out walking her dog. Franik then allegedly forced her into the trunk of his car, and took her to a wooded area on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.
Police say the girl was bound and gagged with duct tape and left alone. She was able to work herself free of the restraints and walk to a nearby business with her dog.
Duluth police spokesman Brad Wick praised her for her bravery and perseverance.
"For a 13-year-old, this girl did an outstanding job," Wick said. "Her attention to detail and a very thorough description enabled us to make an arrest in this case."
Wick said investigators got a break in the case Tuesday.
"One of our officers who was sitting on the crime scene just outside of the city limits spotted the vehicle in the area, and was able to get a plate," he said. "We were able to locate that vehicle later in the day, parked at a strip mall, and at that time, our investigators were able to do a surveillance on the vehicle until the suspect came out to it."
Franik has been charged with one count of kidnapping. U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jeanne Cooney said prosecutors decided to file charges in federal court in part because Franik allegedly crossed state lines during the kidnapping.
Police say Franik has a history of burglary and gun charges. He was scheduled to make his first appearance in U.S. District Court in St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon.
If convicted, he faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.