PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The registered sex offender accused of abducting a 12-year-old girl and abandoning her on the side of the road is now facing child molestation charges, 12 News has learned.
Chandler Cardente, 29, of Cranston, has been charged with six counts of first-degree child molestation, as well as enticing a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Cardente picked the girl up near Burrillville Middle School after dismissal back in December 2021, according to police. Her family reported her missing after she didn’t return home from school.
Investigators later learned Cardente had been chatting with the girl online for months while posing as a 17-year-old and the two made plans to meet up.
The girl was eventually found curled up on the side of the road in Warwick. Having been convicted of first-degree child molestation in 2014, police said Cardente eventually kicked the girl out of his car when he learned police were looking for him.
Police said Cardente and the girl were together for roughly seven hours that night, though it’s unclear what exactly happened during that time. He was initially charged with child snatching and enticing a minor.
Cardente is also accused of attempting to hire a hitman to kill the 12-year-old while behind bars. Investigators caught wind that Cardente was seeking a hitman in February 2022, shortly after his arraignment on the initial charges.
Police said the hitman Cardente eventually connected with turned out to be an undercover Rhode Island State Police detective, who he agreed to pay and provided the girl’s name and address. He was charged with soliciting another to commit murder as a result.
Cardente’s next court date is scheduled for Aug. 23, which is when he will be arraigned on the new charges.