gonzales

LEVELLAND, Texas — A Texas man who abducted a 9-year-old girl from a birthday party to engage in illicit sexual intercourse has been sentenced to more than 30 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Texas announced today.

27-year-old Damien Dre Gonzales was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix to 365 months in federal prison for abducting the child during a birthday party in August 2020.

Gonzales, according to plea papers, admitted to abducting the child from the birthday party to engage in illicit sexual intercourse.

According to federal prosecutors, a woman began choking at that birthday party and many of the attendees provided her aid. During this time, the minor's father was attending to the woman when Gonzales lured the minor away from the crowd by asking for her help carrying alcohol to his vehicle.

Gonzales then encouraged the girl to get inside his vehicle and he drove away from the party.

The girl's disappearance prompted a search by family and the party goers. Law enforcement was notified and home surveillance footage showed Gonzales leaving with the minor.

"About that same time, the Levelland Police Department received a report of a vehicle parked in the middle of the street several miles from the location of the birthday party," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Mr. Gonzales hit a residential mailbox and stopped in the road. While in the car, Mr. Gonzales sexually assaulted the girl by removing her clothes and touching her."

"When law enforcement arrived on the scene to investigate the parked car, they discovered the girl inside," continued the statement. "Officers noticed that Mr. Gonzales’ jeans were unzipped, and his belt was unbuckled. Inside Mr. Gonzales’ car was an open box of condoms sitting in the passenger seat and one condom was missing from the box."

The minor was reunited with her parents and provided psychological and medical support, according to authorities.

The FBI Lubbock Resident Agency, Levelland Police Department, and Hockley County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Callie Woolam prosecuted the case.

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