A Florida man got caught red-handed for trying to marry a teenage girl that he met via World of Warcraft gameplay.
According to Law & Crime, Thomas Ebersole traveled to Ohio before returning to his state to marry the minor. On Wednesday, Jan. 3, Marion County authorities were contacted by the FBI to locate the missing girl, who met Ebersole online on the multiplayer fantasy game.
Ironically, the girl logging into World of Warcraft at Ebersole’s home address tipped off local deputies, who were contacted by the federal agent. An arrest affidavit reads that upon the detective’s arrival, Ebersole “denied knowing of anyone by the victim’s name but ultimately hung his head” before excusing himself and returning with the girl. Described as “frustrated but cooperative” the minor told investigators that she had “requested the defendant do this.” During a post-Miranda ellication, Ebersole admitted to picking up the minor from Ohio in his 2019 Nissan.
Claiming that he was just friends with the girl, Ebersole later detailed having a romantic relationship with her that became physical, engaging in “passionate kissing” that left several “hickies” on his neck. However, Ebersole denied engaging in sexual activity or “unlawful touching” with the teenager.
Ebersole also showed investigators messages sent between him and the girl on Discord, an app popular amongst gamers.
Currently booked in the Marion County Jail, Ebersole faces charges of traveling to meet a minor for sex, interfering with the custody of a minor, and sheltering an unmarried minor.