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Texas Man Who Allegedly Kidnapped Minor May Face Federal Charges

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Daniel Skipworth. | Image from WHNT

On April 15, 2021, 13-year-old Abbygail Moody went missing from her hometown Florence, Alabama. Two days later, she was found in Tyler, Texas at 19-year-old Daniel Skipworth’s home in the 3600 block of Woods Boulevard.

Moody was returned home to her family and Skipworth has been held at Smith County Jail since April 17 of last year on a $550,000 bond.

Skipworth was indicted in June for kidnapping, trafficking and aggravated sexual assault of a child, and engaging in forced sexual conduct, according to News 19.

On December 13, 2021, Skipworth’s hearing was held over Zoom. Brett Harrison, defense attorney, asked 7th District Court Judge Kerry Russell to delay the case until January 10 of this year, based on the federal government’s intention to charge Skipworth since the case crossed state lines.

According to Richard Vance, lead prosecutor, if the federal government chooses to prosecute, the case will be dismissed in state court.

Judge Russell agreed to delay that state court date until January 10, but showed concern for the residents of the county where he is being held, as Skipworth continues to stay in a jail funded by Smith County taxpayers. Russell stated, “The citizens of Smith County get to keep paying for his housing over here… that doesn’t really seem fair to the court for our local citizens. To just keep waiting and waiting with the intent of turning it over to federal prosecutors.”

Now that the January 10 court date has passed, federal charges may be coming his way.

According to News 19, Skipworth met the 13-year-old victim through messages on Instagram. He drove ten hours through the night to pick up the child, arriving at 5:30 a.m. on April 15, 2021. Moody’s parents reported her missing and the Florence Police Department contacted the FBI for help. The FBI tracked her phone until it was dumped.

In a warrant, it states that the FBI was able to determine the victim’s phone was “traveling with another number, later determined to belong to Daniel Dylan Skipworth.”

When investigators arrived at Skipworth’s home on April 17, his father allegedly was not aware his son was keeping a young girl in his bedroom. The affidavit said the girl emerged from a room Skipworth identified as his, looking ‘visibly shaken,’ per the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Moody shared that at first she was willing to leave her home with Skipworth, but had changed her mind. News 19 reported that, though she had asked her captor to take her home throughout the two days that she was with him, he had denied her requests.

Moody told authorities later that Skipworth had first attempted to touch her inappropriately as he drove her back to his home, and then sexually assaulted her multiple times while he held her captive in his bedroom.

It is not clear at this time if or when the federal government will formally charge Skipworth.

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