Deputies: Man arrested on his way to have sex with 13 year old

Matthew Lynn Gardner (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Lynn Gardner (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - A South Carolina man is under arrest accused of soliciting sex from a 13-year-old Orangeburg boy that he met at a wrestling match.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said 32-year-old Matthew Lynn Gardner of Hartsville was arrested Saturday and charged with Criminal Solicitation of a Minor.

Ravenell said the two met at a wrestling match in August and began communicating through Facebook. Gardner eventually set up a rendezvous with the teen on October 1, but before that happened, the teen's parent contacted law enforcement, according to the sheriff.

Investigators were able to quickly identify Gardner and were waiting for him when he arrived in Orangeburg on Saturday, the sheriff said.

Ravenell said he's grateful the teen's parents were monitoring his communications to allow Orangeburg County investigators to be in place Saturday when Gardner arrived from Hartsville. "I cannot imagine what kind of case we would be investigating today had those parents not contacted us," Ravenell said.

Investigators said Gardner sent pictures and used graphic language in emails that he sent to the teen.

Gardner is expected to appear at bond hearing Monday afternoon.

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