Runaway girl’s teddy bear found in tent where Raleigh police say man raped her

Police have arrested a man they say sexually assaulted a runaway teenager Monday.

Joseph Anthony Beckham, 44, described as homeless, is charged with rape and two counts of forcible sex offense, according to warrants.

Investigators say the attack happened in a tent located in a wooded area near the Capital City Church of God in east Raleigh.

A search warrant says a 16-year-old girl ran away from her Raleigh foster home Sunday.

Investigators say Beckham and a woman saw the girl early Monday morning at the Circle K convenience store at the corner of New Bern Avenue and Hedingham Boulevard and offered her a ride.

The search warrant says the girl subsequently “was grabbed from behind by the male and dragged into the nearby wooded area to a tent.”

Beckham then forced the girl to perform a sex act and then he raped her, the warrant says.

The warrant says the teen then fled to the Circle K store where she got help.

She was taken to WakeMed Children’s Hospital for treatment, according to the warrant. A nurse told investigators there was evidence of a sexual assault, the warrant says.

Police identified Beckham after reviewing security video from the Circle K. When police searched his tent, they found the girl’s teddy bear, the warrant says.

Beckham told police he did not touch the girl but said, “We just sat in the tent and talked,” the warrant says.

Beckham was being held in the Wake County jail under $250,000 secured bail, according to the warrant.

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

Joe Johnson is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer. He most recently covered towns in western Wake County and Chatham County. Before that, he covered high school sports for The Herald-Sun.