Man Accused Of Molesting Boy

A Kokomo man is accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy.

Police said they caught Lino Romero, 42, half-dressed in his home Saturday with the boy.

Police searched for the boy for about five hours Saturday afternoon after his mother reported him missing, RTV6's Jennifer Carmack reported.

According to police, the boy, who is both autistic and bipolar, left his home at about 2 p.m. Saturday with a snow blower on a mission to make some Christmas money.

His mother became worried and called police. At about 6 p.m., a missing child alert was issued.

Neighbors told investigators they last saw the boy clearing snow behind 314 West Havens St., just a block from his home.

Several hours after the boy was reported missing, police located his snow blower inside of a garage.

"They brought some people that knew his mother and another relative to look at that snow blower through the garage and they positively ID'd it as being the snow blower this child had," said Kokomo police Lt. Don Whitehead.

When police were unable to make contact with anyone inside, they kicked in the door.

"The only adult occupant came out of a bedroom after they forced entry partially dressed and surrendered himself. When they entered the bedroom they found the child in the bed," Whitehead said.

Romero was arrested on charges of child molestation and criminal confinement.

Stephanie Blevins lives next door to Romero. Blevins said she suspected that he might harm a child.

"It's pretty scary. It's pretty disgusting because I have three babies," Blevins said. "He used to come over, but I've always been right here. He's not allowed over here now."

Romero has a criminal history, but none of the prior crimes involved children.

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