Less than a week after he tearfully claimed in a press conference that it felt like a piece of his soul left with his missing daughter, Randall Pruitt was arrested on a rape charge on Thursday and his adopted daughter was found in Wisconsin.

Details were limited at that time, however, Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones II and District Attorney General Steve Crump confirmed that Pruitt’s arrest was in connection with the case of Pruitt’s 14-year-old adopted daughter, who had been missing since Jan. 13.

The arrest warrant against Pruitt was later released on Friday. The warrant said investigators obtained a search warrant for the alleged victim’s email and messaging records. During the search of that material, investigators said they found several photos and a video of Pruitt “engaged in sexual intercourse” with the girl on her bed. The alleged offense date of the photos and video is Jan. 9.

Pruitt was arrested around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and charged with rape. A few hours after that, the FBI announced they had found the missing girl more than 700 miles away in Wisconsin.

“I can only say so much about an ongoing investigation,” Jones said, “but I can say (she) has been found safe in Wisconsin.”

Jones said the girl had been taken care of and fed, but did not say how she had ended up in Wisconsin.

When asked if the girl had run away because of a bad home situation, Jones said, “We think so.”

Jones said no one from his office had talked to the teenager yet, but Detective Jason Fillyaw and other deputies were on their way to Wisconsin on Friday to pick her up.

The investigation was still ongoing as of press time on Friday. Jones said more arrests and charges could be coming in connection with the case.

The 14-year-old girl was reported missing Jan. 14 after last being seen late on the night of Jan. 13. Law enforcement officers could find no signs of a struggle and could not turn up any clues that she might have run away. Authorities seemed baffled on Jan. 25 during a press conference, asking for help from the public in finding the girl.

The Sheriff’s Office said they found evidence that the girl’s cellphone had been used in the Corbin, Ky., area on Jan. 14, but it had not been used since.

The Pruitts had moved to the Monroe County area at the end of last December after living in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Along with the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the District Attorney General’s Office assisted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in the case.

The Advocate & Democrat will continue to report on this story as more details become available. michael.thomason@advocateanddemocrat.com | 337-7101

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