By Jesse Sarles

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A 30-year-old man has been arrested on a charge of sexual assault on a child. The arrest of Michael Patrick Buckley on Wednesday afternoon followed the expiration of an Amber Alert out of Westminster. An 11-year-old girl went missing Tuesday and was found on Wednesday.

“We know there is inherent interest in this case and what occurred over the last couple of days. This is an open and ongoing case and to protect the integrity of the investigation we will not be releasing any additional information,” Westminster police wrote. “We would also like to remind everyone the victim in this case, who is a child, wouldn’t normally be identified due to her age and the charges, however the events leading up to the arrest caused us to identify the victim. The family is still asking for privacy.”

Buckley was taken to the Jefferson County Jail. The specific charge he faces is “Sexual Assault on a Child by a person in a position of trust– pattern of abuse.”

Michael Buckley (credit: Westminster Police)

According to the arrest affidavit, the child was seen around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday by a contractor working in the neighborhood when she asked to use his cell phone to call her boyfriend. The girl told the contractor that she was 23 years old and had met her boyfriend through a Craigslist ad where he was selling rats. The contractor “found the circumstances very concerning” and when the “boyfriend” picked up the girl, the contractor took a picture of the vehicle and the license plate. The contractor also was able to give the police a description of the driver of the vehicle. The owner of the home, where the work was being done by the contractor, called Westminster police late in the morning on Wednesday after learning the girl matched the description of the missing child in the Amber Alert.

According to the arrest affidavit, the driver was described as 25-35 years old, bald or with very short hair, wearing glasses and was missing his right pinky finger.

Police were able to track down the driver of the vehicle through the Colorado motor vehicle database and the cellphone number that showed up on the contractor’s phone.

When officers arrived at Buckley’s home, they verified that he did match the description of the driver and was missing his right pinky finger. Officers asked if the missing girl was there and he confirmed that she was inside the residence. Officers called her name and she responded.

The girl told officers that Buckey was her boyfriend of two days.

Officers arrested Buckley and detectives recommended that he face charges of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and pattern of abuse.

The girl’s family became concerned when she did not return home at the agreed-upon time of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. When they couldn’t find her, they called police and that’s when the search was initiated. An Amber Alert was issued on Wednesday morning.

The girl’s family released the following statement following the expiration of the statewide alert:

“We are so grateful to have (our daughter) home and safe. We would request privacy. It is very comforting to know that families like ours are supported by a close-knit community and overwhelming response from the Westminster Police Department along with all the other first responder agencies who step up to help. We just want to offer the biggest thanks to all who helped us in a time of need.”

Jesse Sarles