SPARKS, Ga. — A Chestertown man who was arrested in Kent County about 16 months ago after allegedly kidnapping a young female runaway from Georgia has been extradited to that state to face charges that include sex trafficking.
Brady Alan Hart, 50, also faces charges of kidnapping, interstate interference with custody and enticing a minor, according to a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Mark Pro of GBI, the special agent in charge, told the Kent County News that Hart and Nicholas Fernandez, 23, of Alpharetta, Ga., are accused of transporting the 14-year-old girl to locations in Cook and Athens-Clarke counties for labor or servitude.
Media outlets have identified Fernandez as a University of Georgia student and reported that he was arrested on the Athens campus Aug. 31.
That same day, the GBI secured warrants for Hart’s arrest.
Hart was taken into custody by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 8 on the new charges through Georgia and served a fugitive from justice warrant, according to online records of the Maryland Judiciary.
He was held without bail in the Kent County Detention Center pending extradition.
Hart, who waived his right to an extradition hearing, was transported to the Cook County Jail last week.
Court documents list Hart’s occupation as part-time caretaker and “self-employed.”
Hart was on supervised release awaiting trial in the Circuit Court for Kent County (the two-day jury trial in September has been postponed) on charges of kidnapping and contributing to the condition of a child after being arrested in the spring of 2020 by the sheriff’s office.
He allegedly brought the 14-year-old girl from a small town in south Georgia to his home and made no attempt to contact law enforcement or the girl’s family.
According to a statement of probable cause dated April 23, 2020, Hart told police he had met the girl online about a year and a half earlier. He said he had traveled to Georgia at least two other times to see her.
Hart had traveled to Georgia the day before his arrest to pick up the girl at her request, according to court documents.
Hart told police he knew the girl had run away April 16 because he had been in contact with her since she left home, according to charging documents.
Police allege that Hart knew the girl was the subject of a search by law enforcement.
Hart and the girl arrived in Kent County in the early morning hours of April 23, 2020, according to police.
Lt. Stuart Lodge, commander of the sheriff’s office Criminal Investigation Division, responded to a farmhouse on Bakers Lane near Chestertown as part of the investigation into a possible runaway. Hart was there. The girl was located hiding in a crawl space under the house, according to court documents.
The girl initially was transported to the sheriff’s office. She was released into the custody of her mother, who came to Chestertown to pick her up, according to police.
The GBI was brought into the investigation on April 16, 2020 at the request of the Sparks Police Department to assist with a missing person’s case.
Further investigation identified Fernandez as Hart’s associate.
On July 21 of this year, Fernandez was arrested in Cook County for conspiracy to commit interstate interference with custody, interference with custody and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The GBI arrested Fernandez at the end of August on charges that include sex trafficking, child molestation, statutory rape and kidnapping.
At this point in the investigation, one victim has been identified.
The investigation is active and ongoing, according police.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the GBI’s regional office in Douglas, Ga. at 912-389-4103 or the Sparks Police Department at 229-546-8211.
Anonymous tips also can be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) or online at gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online.