UPDATE | Augusta hotel worker responsible for saving teen warns others

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Thursday, January 31, 2019
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – A hotel clerk and her cell phone are part of the reason a teen boy is out of harm’s way Thursday night. The 14-year-old typed out “HELP ME” on her phone while she was in the room with him and an older man at a Red Roof Inn.

Now, Janice Minguela is warning others working in her industry to keep an eye out. She got a glimpse at what can happen behind the closed doors of a hotel room first-hand on Thursday at the Red Roof Inn where she works.

"I never see something like this," Minguela told us Thursday.

Minguela told investigators, 42-year-old Robert Moore Jr. called down to the desk for a new TV, but when she went up there something happened.

"I was seeing the boy going behind my back the whole time and tapping my shoulders."

That’s when the teen asked to use her phone.

"I give him my phone and he said, ‘no you can use mine’," Minguela talks us through the conversation.

"He said ‘no, I want to use hers’, he told me. He typed "Help me" on one of my text messages but not save it."

Minguela says she immediately went downstairs to call 911. Moments later, the boy came down too.

"[He] said he left the room. Please call the police."

But how did the two get here? Investigators say Moore and the boy had been exchanging nude pictures on the app, Tinder.

The 14-year-old told investigators he was walking on Belair Road right next the Circle K on Cox Road. That's when he says a four door Cadillac pulled up, and Robert Moore told him to get in the car.

Minguela says she’s glad she was there, in the right place at the right time.

"Yeah, God put me in the right place at the right time,” Minguela told News 12. “I have kids too, and I would not want anything like that to happen to any of my kids or anything."

A short time after Minguela called the police, Moore was found in the parking lot of the nearby Pilot gas station. He’s an electrician in Hephzibah, now facing charges for attempt to molest a child, enticing a child for indecent purposes and for disseminating child pornography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man has been arrested in Columbia County after a boy contacted an employee for help in a hotel room.

47-year-old Richard Hunt Moore, Jr., is charged with Contributing to the Delinquency, Unruliness or Deprivation of a Minor. He's also facing charges of a sexual nature, including Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes, Attempted Aggravated Child Molestation, and Computer or Electronic Pornography.

Moore was staying at the Red Roof Inn at 4328 Belair Frontage Road when he called the front desk about his television not working. When the employee went upstairs, a 14-year-old boy took her cell phone and typed "HELP ME" in a text message.

When the employee got downstairs and saw the message, she contacted the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies spoke with the teen, he said he was walking along Belair Road to a nearby Circle K when a white four-door Cadillac driven by Moore pulled up beside him. He says Moore told him to get into the car.

Once in the car, the teen says Moore gave him some sort of clear lubricant before driving back to Moore's hotel room.

Once they were in the room, the teen victim began to feel "uncomfortable" and that's when the clerk came in for the TV. When the employee went downstairs, Moore followed before getting into his car and driving away.

A warrant says Moore took the teen to the hotel room to commit sexual acts, planned to commit an act of sodomy with the child under age 16, and he took and exchanged nude pictures of himself and the teen.

Deputies found Moore in a parking lot on Jimmie Dyess Parkway, where they arrested him.

An investigation is ongoing.