A Collier County County woman says she denied a man she met online. Then, he followed her, crashed into her with a car and tried to run her off the road.
Investigators arrested suspect Chance Cinjin Michaels, 46, of Sioux City, Iowa in Illinois after he was accused of assaulting a woman in North Naples he met on a date. Michaels is a convicted sex offender.
Investigators say Michaels was in Plainfield, Illinois near the house of the woman’s parents. This was after he had recently connected with her online and then met her for a date in person, but things turned violent when she told him she didn’t want to meet him anymore.
Michaels is accused of following the victim down a road in North Naples, ramming her car and trying to run her off the road.
People we spoke to say it was a social media date gone wrong and that girls need to be aware of the red flags of online dating.
“People on the other end aren’t necessarily who they say they are,” Dan Schoger said.
That was the case when the victim went on a date with Michaels.
“A lot of young people really don’t understand that this is another person out there,” Sophia Costa said. “And you don’t know what they’re like because they are hiding behind this fake identity.”
It didn’t take long for the victim to realize the person she had met on social media was not who she thought he was. During their date, a vigilant friend told her he was a convicted sex offender and once faced kidnapping charges.
“People need to be careful,” Costa said.
During the date, she told them she didn’t want to see him anymore. That’s when investigators say things went downhill.
After running her off the road, investigators say Michaels sent her more than 100 threatening messages and even showed up to her apartment.
Tuesday, detectives with Plainfield Police Department learned Michael traveled to Illinois near her parent’s house, where they arrested him.
“I don’t know how he found their address and everything,” Costa said. “That’s shocking.”
Experts say people should not be afraid to Google someone they’ve met online prior to meeting in person. It’s also recommended to tell friends about the date and even share your location on your phone.
During a first date, it’s also suggested to go to a place where there are a lot of people present.
Michaels is awaiting extradition to Collier County, where he faces a charge for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“My heart goes out to this family and what they went through,” Schoger said. “It was a horror story for them.”