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Tacoma man officially charged in Federal Way kidnapping | More details emerge on girl's disappearance

Benjamin Trinh, a 28-year-old Tacoma man, was arrested Tuesday after allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old Federal Way girl. - Courtesy photo
Benjamin Trinh, a 28-year-old Tacoma man, was arrested Tuesday after allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old Federal Way girl.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Tacoma resident Benjamin H. Trinh, 28, was officially charged Friday after kidnapping an 8-year-old Federal Way girl last week from a playground near Olympic View Elementary. The incident caused a statewide Amber Alert.

King County prosecutors charged Trinh with first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation. According to the prosecutor’s office, a child rape investigation is continuing.

Trinh remains in custody at the Regional Justice Center in Kent in lieu of $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. April 25.

According to new details released in the charging papers Friday, Trinh told police that after kidnapping the girl on the evening of April 11 from the playground in the Twin Lakes area of Federal Way, he drove to the McDonald’s drive-thru on South 348th Street, then ate in the Secoma Lanes parking lot before heading to the Target in The Commons Mall.

While at Target, Trinh bought the girl a swimsuit, sandals and candy, among other things, according to the charging papers. After purchasing the items, Trinh and the girl went to his home in Tacoma, where she changed into the bathing suit and went swimming at Bally Total Fitness in University Place, police said. Trinh then took her back to his house and committed sex acts with the girl, according to police. Trinh admitted to police during an interview last week to sexually assaulting the girl and taking photos while doing so.

Police said they found several other videos and photos in Trinh’s South Tacoma home of young girls performing sex acts. It’s not clear who the girls are, but police are asking other families to come forward if they have any suspicions.

Trinh said he started talking to the girl about two weeks prior to the kidnapping incident, according to police. The charging papers said Trinh was known around the Olympic View Elementary playground as “Ben,” and several children believed that he took photos for the school’s yearbook.

Police issued a statewide Amber Alert shortly after 7 p.m. April 11 after the girl’s mother reported her missing.

The alert said the girl was last seen by her mother at 6:30 p.m. at Olympic View. The alert was canceled when the 8-year-old walked up to the family’s home several hours later, around 10:30 p.m.

According to police, the third-grader came to the Olympic View playground, accompanied by other children, earlier in the evening. Other children noticed her talking with an Asian man who appeared to be in his 20s.

Sometime after that, the other children realized that both the girl and the man were no longer in the area, according to police.

The girl’s mother immediately reported her missing to police, who notified the Federal Way School District. School district officials then initiated a call to all Olympic View parents asking if anyone knew the girl’s location or had seen her.

Police are crediting an employee at the Federal Way Target store for the subsequent arrest of Trinh on April 12 in Tacoma. Police used surveillance video from the store, along with credit card receipts from things he bought the girl, to locate his Tacoma address.

The Target employee, a mother herself, received the Amber Alert over her cell phone April 11 and recognized the girl in the photo. The employee remembered seeing the 8-year-old with an Asian man earlier in the evening around the fitting rooms inside Target, according to police.

 

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