The following episode discusses a child pornography investigation however, no specific narratives of the images will be shared. In this case, Detective Dave walks us through his investigation of two online predators who were sexually exploiting children online and how multiple agencies around the country work together to try to keep children safe. Of the 6+ years Dave spent investigating sex crimes and child abuse, these two cases, in particular, got under his skin and changed him forever.
Co-Host: Detective Dave
Dave began his career in law enforcement in 2007. Before his recent promotion to Sergeant, he spent six years as a detective primarily investigating Sex Crimes and Child Abuse for his police department in Small Town, USA. He still serves as a Crisis and Hostage Negotiator, and during his tenure as a detective, he served on the advisory boards of multiple children’s and victims’ advocacy groups.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:01] Hey, super podcast Fams, it’s Yeardley. I just wanted to pop in with a quick announcement about Small Town Dicks, Season 12. It drops on April 21st. April 21st. Mark your calendars. We will see you there.
Dave: [00:00:20] This episode discusses two child pornography cases I investigated as a detective. These suspects taught me that just when I thought I’d seen it all, I was wrong. Please note, we do not discuss these materials in detail, and that’s done with consideration to the child victims as well as with you, our listeners. That being said, I recognize some may find the subject matter difficult to hear and process. For this reason, listener discretion is strongly advised.
Yeardley: [00:00:51] When a serious crime is committed in a small town, a handful of detectives are charged with solving the case. I’m Yeardley, and I’m fascinated by these stories. So, I invited my friends, detectives Dan and Dave, to help me gather the best true crime cases from around the country, and have the men and women who investigated them, tell us how it happened.
Dan: [00:01:16] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:01:17] And I’m Dave.
Dan: [00:01:18] We’re identical twins.
Dave: [00:01:19] And we’re detectives in small town USA.
Dan: [00:01:22] Dave investigates sex crimes and child abuse.
Dave: [00:01:24] Dan investigates violent crimes. And together, we’ve worked on hundreds of cases including assaults, robberies, murders, burglaries, sex abuse, and child abuse.
Dan: [00:01:33] Names, places, and certain details, including relationships have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families. Though we realize that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we hope you’ll join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved out of respect for what they’ve been through. Thank you.[music]
Yeardley: [00:02:05] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:02:12] Happy to be here again.
Yeardley: [00:02:13] So happy to see you. And we have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:02:17] Good to see you again.
Yeardley: [00:02:18] Good to see you. So, Dave, now sergeant, just as a reminder to our Small Town Fam. So, Dave, this was a case that came to you when you were still a detective investigating sex crimes and child abuse, yes?
Dave: [00:02:33] Correct. Let me get a couple of acronyms out of the way, just so I can flow through this. At the top, we’ll start with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. N-C-M-E-C. We call it the NCMEC
Yeardley: [00:02:46] NCMEC.
Dave: [00:02:47] So, if I reference NCMEC, that’s who I’m referring to. The other one is ICAC. I-C-A-C, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Every state has one.
Yeardley: [00:02:57] Okay, got it. The NCMEC, which is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the ICAC, which stands for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Dave: [00:03:09] Correct. So, now that I got that out of the way, this case comes to us from the NCMEC, who were actually contacted by a detective down in the southern part of our country. That detective does the same caseload that I do, and he just being proactive had gone into a social media application called Kik, K-I-K, Kik Messenger. That application has all kinds of chat rooms. And so, he would regularly go through these chat rooms trying to find any nefarious activity. So, a lot of these chat rooms have labels on them that announce what they’re all about. So, he’s finding chat rooms called Little Girls Only, creepy stuff like that.
Yeardley: [00:03:59] How are those chat rooms allowed to exist? How come they aren’t immediately taken down?
Dave: [00:04:03] Well, you think of how difficult that would be to police that. These users know that there is some policing and some security done via these social media apps. So, they’re constantly evolving and constantly changing room names. So, a room might be up for an hour, and then it’s taken down by the site. Then once that’s discovered, they send an invite to all their friends and says, “Hey, I just created this one. It’s called Lolita Girls Only.”
Yeardley: [00:04:30] I see.
Dave: [00:04:31] So, they’re always changing.
Dan: [00:04:32] Like, the party gets broken up and someone says, “Hey, go party at my house.”
Yeardley: [00:04:37] And move next door.
Dan: [00:04:38] Yeah.
Dave: [00:04:39] So, you have all these likeminded users that are in these chat rooms. Some are more active than others. Our suspect in this case, his name is Nick. I just want to give you a little background on this guy. He’s mid-20s, lives with his parents, has never moved out of his parents’ house. Held a job at Walmart as a greeter for a little bit, but couldn’t hold that one down. [Yeardley laughs] He returns home, and he doesn’t do a whole lot other than stay on the computer. He plays online games, and he uploads and downloads child porn, and he spends a lot of time in Kik Messenger. So, Nick is in this Little Girls Only chat room.
[00:05:18] This detective from the southern part of our country is being proactive. He is just monitoring activity in this chat room and notices this user, whose username is Find Young,-
Dave: [00:05:31] -kind of announces his intentions. Find Young is pretty active in this room. So, he’s asking for pictures, he’s asking for videos, he’s agreeing to trade videos and pictures back and forth with users. He starts posting some of his content, and other people start posting the content, and it’s a feeding frenzy now. And so, people are posting all kinds of stuff, and he’s picking and choosing what he doesn’t already have, and he’s saving that to his device. So, this detective, he sees how active Nick is and makes a note. He starts taking screenshots of all the activity on this chat room.
[00:06:08] He starts doing his homework on this and contacts the social media app. These electronic service providers like Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Kik, Facebook, they all are expected to police their own content. So, whatever’s on their servers, they’re responsible for it. So, they have to actively go through their content and find anything that is clearly child pornography. They flag it. A lot of times, they’ll freeze that person’s account, but they will take all of that and start building a case that they’re going to forward to the NCMEC.
[00:06:46] So, they will grab usernames, they’ll grab the IP address uploads. But a lot of times when we get into these guys computers, we’ll find that they have this thing called Tor Browser, T-O-R. Other people refer to it as the Onion, because there’s multiple layers of security.
Dan: [00:07:03] We’ve talked about this in Breach.
Dave: [00:07:05] Right.
Dan: [00:07:06] The swatting stuff, how these guys hide.
Yeardley: [00:07:10] Right. For our listeners, Breach was in Season 4. Basically, it’s just obfuscation.
Dave: [00:07:18] Right. It’s a way for these guys to anonymously browse the internet.
Yeardley: [00:07:22] Got it.
Dave: [00:07:22] Cover their tracks, basically. So, this website, this social media app, grabs all this guy’s content, everything they can do to help identify this guy, and they forward it to the NCMEC. The NCMEC then has their investigators and they start putting a file together on this person. Once they determine where the IP address returns to, they’ll find whatever agency that was. So, in this case, it returned to our town. The IP address, it tells you who the provider is. A lot of times, they even subpoena the internet provider. So, they will do all my work on the front end, which makes it really easy for us. They hand you a gift wrap package and say, “Hey, child pornographer in your area here.”
Yeardley: [00:08:08] Do they give you his address as well? All of that?
Dave: [00:08:10] They give you the address with their file. I will get a printout of everybody they’re related to, all their former addresses, their DMV information. I get all kinds of stuff. Sometimes, I’ll even have all the vehicles that are registered to them. These are full investigations. The NCMEC can’t send their people out to go kick in this guy’s door, so they forward it to the local agency. So, they give me enough, including all the content that this guy is uploaded and downloaded. So, I’ve got the actual files that I can look at to confirm this is child pornography. That’s against the law, and I start writing my search warrant affidavit.
Yeardley: [00:08:47] Is the NCMEC related to the FBI?
Dave: [00:08:49] No, it’s a private nonprofit organization that works with law enforcement.
Yeardley: [00:08:54] How interesting.
Dave: [00:08:54] They get federal funding because of the service they provide. So, kind of expands their toolkit. They get federal funding, but they’re a nonprofit. The NCMEC has their own website. I’ve even put them down on our resources page for smalltowndicks.com. They’ve got all kinds of great material on there. Child safety, missing persons cases, they have trainings that they will provide to law enforcement agencies about best practices on handling a missing child case. So, they’ve got all kinds of stuff, including internet safety, all that stuff.
[00:09:30] So, the NCMEC does an outstanding job. In this case, I’ve never not gotten a great case from them. They’re really good. A lot of times, kind of as middleman, they will send it to our state’s ICAC, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. They’ll send it to the ICAC, the ICAC will be the broker and they’ll say, “I know a detective that works for that department that I’ve worked with before,” and they’ll contact me. But the lead agency on that has always been the NCMEC, in my experience.
[00:09:59] So, the NCMEC hands off this perfect case. I love these cases because it’s like, “All right, let’s go find bad guy.” Write a search warrant for his house, I do some recon. I remember it was a weekend, and I figured out where this guy lived, and I took my dog for a walk just to do a site survey of this house. So, I parked down the street, got my dog out, went for a walk around the neighborhood, and I was like, “Oh, there’s the house.” You get the property description. Two storey house, faces north at this intersection, that type of stuff.
Dan: [00:10:33] When you write a warrant, you have to include that stuff. So, we know we’re talking about this particular house. Even put stuff like the numbers for the address of the house are in a vertical manner on the right side of the door.
Yeardley: [00:10:48] Really?
Dan: [00:10:48] Yeah, it’s a real property description. So, we know that we’re talking about this house. If we hit the wrong house. They look at the property description, and it’s a check and balance.
Dave: [00:10:58] Right. It’s a way for us to make sure that we’re going to the right address. So, in this case, it’s fairly simple. This house is right next to a walking path that leads to a school. The backyard of this house overlooks six or seven tennis courts. So, we’re talking over the fence is this school property. Nice neighborhood, nice house. I’m sure if you’re driving by, you’d have no idea what’s going up into the cloud or coming down from it. But this guy, he’s got his own little bedroom, his own little compound. He’s got his own master suite in the lower corner of the house, kind of self-contained. I don’t imagine he came out into the common areas very much to interact with his family. I’m making assumptions, but it looked like he didn’t leave this room very often. So, wrote a search warrant for his house. We go out, the whole team, and everyone knows what we’re looking for. Flash drives.
Yeardley: [00:11:58] How many people in the whole team?
Dave: [00:12:00] We probably had seven.
Yeardley: [00:12:02] Oh.
Dave: [00:12:02] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:12:03] Why so many?
Dave: [00:12:04] You never know, and it’s a big house.
Yeardley: [00:12:07] You don’t know if he’s armed or–?
Dave: [00:12:09] Don’t know if he’s armed, don’t know how many people we’re going to be dealing with when we get into the house. It’s also useful to have lots of hands to be digging through stuff, because I’m not going to do any of the searching. I’m going to be dealing with suspect. I’m going to be talking to him.
Dan: [00:12:25] If you think about it, you have an idea of who this guy is and that he’s a loner. So, you’re going to have certain detectives dealing with him, but you’re also going to have to deal with other people who are in the house, parents, siblings, who have no clue of what’s going on, and they’re going to be upset and want some answers. So, you herd them into a corner. It’s a sales job. Like, “You need to calm down. The more you cooperate, the sooner we’ll be out of here.”
Yeardley: [00:12:52] Right.
Dave: [00:12:53] It’s always interesting in these situations. Once you get into a house, it doesn’t matter what the search warrant is for. Sometimes, you’ve got family members, boyfriend, girlfriend, whoever, friends that are in the house when you serve this search warrant. There’s always that moment, once you get everyone corralled and the place is secure and you search the couch that they’re going to sit on to make sure there’s no guns hidden under the cushions, you sit them down, you read them their rights, and then you read the search warrant, verbatim. That’s when they learn, “Oh, shit, that’s what this is about.”
[00:13:27] In this case, and in lots of other cases, when the family members don’t know what you’ve been up to, it’s always a “holy shit” moment. I’ve been in a child porn search warrant, not this one, where we were reading the search warrant and it wasn’t me, it was Detective Robert. He was reading the search warrant. I’m looking around the room to see reactions. The whole room, except one person, they’re looking at each other like, “You? Me? It’s not me.” There’s this guy in the back corner of this kitchen and he’s walking backwards towards a corner and he’s got his head down, and I’m like, “There he is.”
Yeardley: [00:14:04] That’s the guy.
Dave: [00:14:05] “There he is right there.” Body language just gave him away. I remember Robert, he gets done with the warrant, and he truly didn’t know who the suspect was. He just knew it was coming from this house. I said, “Robert, it’s that guy back there.” [chuckles] He looks and he goes, “Yeah, that’s him.” It’s one of those where you look at somebody, like, he’s guilty. Like the dog who tore up the couch.
Yeardley: [00:14:29] Right. [laughs]
Dave: [00:14:30] He’s got that look on their face.
Yeardley: [00:14:32] You know you did it.
Dave: [00:14:32] “Oh, shit, dad’s home.” So, in this case, Nick, he has family members there. He’s got siblings and he’s got his parents. I remember the siblings and the parents have no idea what he’s up to. So, they’re going through their own set of emotional circumstances, and Nick knows exactly what he’s been doing, but he’s playing games.
Yeardley: [00:14:55] “It wasn’t me. I don’t know what you’re talking about”?
Dave: [00:14:58] Right. So, they play dumb until you really get into the interview, and that’s where you start letting them know, “Hey, I know what you’ve been doing.” And you set traps. A lot of this is provable lies. “So, if you’re not going to give me the truth, I’m going to prove that you’re a liar.” So, a lot of these uploads were tied to an iPod. So, we know what the device is through all the information that’s collected through the NCMEC. So, I know what device I’m looking for and I start with, “Hey, so, do you have an iPod?” “No, I don’t have an iPod.”
Yeardley: [00:15:31] Those are tiny.
Dave: [00:15:32] Right. Easy to hide. This guy has several iPods. We’re already in his room, and I’m out in the dining room talking to him, and I said, “Do you have an iPod?” “No, I don’t have an iPod.” Somebody comes out of his room with three iPods in their hand, I’m like, “Well, what are those?” “Oh, I forgot about those.” [Yeardley [laughs] “Well, they were right on your desk, dude.”
Yeardley: [00:15:52] They always have such terrible memories.
Dave: [00:15:54] I know. He’s like, “Oh, well.” So, it turns out those iPods had a total of just under 30,000 [Yeardley gasps] pictures and videos of child porn. So, in our state, within 10 pictures, you’re up to 48 months per picture.
Yeardley: [00:16:10] So, after 10 pictures, it’s 48 months per picture.
Dave: [00:16:12] After about 6 pictures, it’s 48 months per picture, and this guy’s got tens of thousands.
Yeardley: [00:16:18] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:16:18] So, in the federal realm, a video counts as 75 still images. If you have a 10 second video, you think all the frames that goes through a video depicting child pornography, that counts for 75 still images. So, if I can get a few videos, I own you.
Yeardley: [00:16:36] Right.
Dave: [00:16:36] This guy has thousands.
Yeardley: [00:16:38] Oh, jeez.
Dan: [00:16:39] Ah, I just did the math. 30,000 just images at 48 months. That’s 120,000 years in prison. I don’t think he’s going to make parole.
Dave: [00:17:00] In this case, I always talk about strike zones with these sex offenders.
Yeardley: [00:17:04] Right. I think you should stop right there for a second. I feel like we should warn our audience that what you’re about to say might be a trigger. So, this is a trigger warning.
Dave: [00:17:14] Yeah. Nick’s strike zone is infants and toddlers.
Yeardley: [00:17:19] Oh, gross.
Dave: [00:17:20] I think the oldest child that I saw was probably seven. I’m not going to get into specifics about what’s on these videos. At the time, it was the most horrible, awful stuff I’d ever seen in my life.
Yeardley: [00:17:34] I do know a little bit from sitting with you and Dan. One of the things that was so striking to me about the kind of work you did when you were investigating sex crimes and child abuse, if you were going to say to the DA, “I can bring you a hundred files,” you had to watch every single one of those. You couldn’t watch 10 and then paraphrase the other 90 that that was a really interesting and absolutely harrowing proposition, because you can’t unsee that stuff, and I don’t think anybody realizes that.
Dave: [00:18:07] Right. That’s the part of the job I definitely don’t miss. I like catching the bad guy and putting these people in prison. But certainly, looking at that stuff, I wanted to be thorough. Also, I want to find files where we can potentially identify who the victim is. They have victim ID labs where we can send them off to the NCMEC, and they will take the file and start looking at the file. They have software where it will recognize what the background is. And if it comes from a previous case that they’ve had and if that’s a known victim. So, that’s important for me, because if I can identify the victim, then it’s not just some anonymous person, I can separate that out from the rest of the cases. That’s extra time that runs on top of whatever sentence you’re going to get just for having the child porn.
[00:18:58] Now I’ve got an identified victim. So, there’s a market for this, obviously. You’ve got people that are interested in this type of stuff. If you are somebody who’s actively looking for or actively uploading that stuff, not to say you’re creating it, but you have it as part of your archive or library, and you upload that to the internet for consumption and duplication by other people, you’re encouraging other people to sexually abuse children.
Yeardley: [00:19:24] You’re perpetuating it.
Dave: [00:19:25] Right. So, I got a big problem with that, and society does. And so, that’s why there’s such a hefty penalty. I know a lot of people will say, “Well, it’s not like he’s abusing children. He’s just looking at pictures of it.” And I say, “Well, he’s part of the market that makes people go out and actively produce pictures and films of children being sexually abused. You’re the problem.”
Yeardley: [00:19:49] Yes.
Dave: [00:19:50] Kind of how I feel about drugs. People say, “It’s a victimless crime.” Well, there’s a tale to that where it involves a lot of property, a lot of dysfunctions in families, stealing from people you care about, and violence that we’ve covered on this. So, this is one of those where people are like, “Well, it’s not his kid and he never laid his hands on any kid, he’s just fantasizing.” So, I have a big problem with that.
Dan: [00:20:13] Also, if you can identify this child, potentially, you’re going to be able to remove that child from the environment where they’re being abused. So, that’s why it’s important that Dave watches those videos, because say you watch a hundred of those videos and you don’t get anything out of it, but if you would have watched the 101st, you could have removed a child from that situation. You couldn’t live with yourself if you stopped.
Dave: [00:20:37] No. And it comes to a point where you’re looking at this in these cases, certainly I want the jury to really dislike this person. So, I’m going to grab the worst. I’m going to grab the worst of the worst. I have my billboard top 20 of the worst, and I move and replace as I come across files that I’m like, “Okay, that is the worst one I’ve seen that goes to the top of the list,” which pushes everything else down. “Okay, now, I found this one. Now, that replaces number 15.”
Yeardley: [00:21:05] But you didn’t watch all 30,000.
Dave: [00:21:07] No, a lot of these were pictures. So, that’s easy. The videos, you got to watch the whole thing. So, I watched one video where it starts out as, like a VHS tape of just some random 1980s movie, and then about four minutes into it, it splices into the child being sexually abused for 10 minutes, and then the end of the video is the movie again.
Yeardley: [00:21:31] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:21:32] So creative. They’re trying to hide it. But in this case, it’s a video file. If I would have just skipped through that, I would have never caught the actual crime. I would have just been like, “Oh, this is random. It’s in this library.” But it’s video of an old movie.
Yeardley: [00:21:46] Which is what they’re counting on.
Dave: [00:21:48] Right. So, you go through these, and to prevent the DA from having to look at these files, to prevent grand jurors and jurors potentially from having to look at these files and defense attorneys and their investigators, I go through, and I basically write a little synopsis of what’s in the video.
Yeardley: [00:22:10] Why don’t you want the defense attorney to have to watch it?
Dave: [00:22:13] I don’t want anybody to have to watch it.
Yeardley: [00:22:15] Even though they’re defending this shithead.
Dave: [00:22:18] Right. Like you said, you can’t unsee this. So, I would write down the file name, I’d write down what kind of file it is, MP4, Wav, those kinds of things, how long it is, and then I would describe who’s depicted in the video. So, I give a description. There’s one video that it’s always in my head when I think about this. It’s a guy in a clown mask, and he’s sexually abusing a kid, and I’m like, “Ugh.”
Dan: [00:22:48] I think I was across the room when you were watching that, and you had your headphones on, because obviously you don’t want the audio leaking out. He said a lot of colorful words, “Goddamn it.” And he ripped his headphones off and slammed them against his computer screen, and he just got up, and he bent over and took the deep breath. He had a physical reaction to watching this video. And so, I just got up and I was like, “Dude, step away for a little bit. You got to step away.” And he said, “No, I got to get back into this. I got to finish this.”
Yeardley: [00:23:14] This is at work, right? This is in the pool of detectives.
Dan: [00:23:18] Yeah.
Dave: [00:23:19] It was about two straight weeks of looking through this stuff.
Yeardley: [00:23:22] Oh, Dave.
Dave: [00:23:23] Yeah. So, nasty stuff. It’s not like I have flashbacks or anything, but yeah, this video was horrible, and it pissed me off, like, “Goddamn it.” [Yeardley laughs] I should have gone into accounting, [Yeardley laughs] something where I don’t have to watch this crap. So, I give the synopsis, I give the descriptions. That way you can walk a juror through what exactly it is, what’s depicted, the type of abuse they’re subjecting this child to. What’s in the background? I want stuff that I can corroborate, “Okay, this is that girl and her bedroom looks like that in the background. She’s got that poster on the wall,” whatever. So, it’s fairly descriptive. Then go on to the next video. Watch that one. Some of these are eight seconds long, some of these are an hour and a half.
Yeardley: [00:24:12] What?
Dave: [00:24:14] Yeah. It takes a long time to get through all this, because I’m watching it. I’m like, “Okay, I need to take a note of that, pause, write two sentences about what’s going on. All right, hit play. Keep doing that.” So, it takes a long time to go through this. I’ve got help with Detective Robert, our forensic computer examiner. He’s our tech guy, really good. He will go through, and he’ll parse out like, “This is in this folder.” So, he’s giving me a roadmap on where these files are going to be on this guy’s iPod, or his computer, or his iPhone, whatever it is. So, whatever the device is, he’s basically doing an inventory of what’s contained in that device.
Yeardley: [00:24:55] So, he has to watch those videos too?
Dave: [00:24:57] Not to the degree of detail. He’s going through going, “Okay, there’s another one. That’s child porn,” and he flags it and lets me know where to go to find it.
Yeardley: [00:25:06] And is the suspect in jail while you’re doing this?
Dave: [00:25:09] In this case, yes.
Dan: [00:25:10] Not always though.
Dave: [00:25:11] Not always. Yeah, there’s other times where if it’s a weaker case, or it could be strategic, or in some cases, you throw someone in jail and someone makes a decision in the court system where they feel that maybe that person shouldn’t be in custody that they can wait for their trial to occur, basically, they’re released on a release agreement, like, “You won’t access child porn, you won’t get on the internet, don’t do anything illegal.”
Yeardley: [00:25:41] Because they said they wouldn’t.
Dave: [00:25:43] Yeah.
Dan: [00:25:43] We’ve also done search warrants where you know that this guy’s got child porn, but you haven’t physically seen it yet. So, you have to go back to the station, find the evidence of the crime, and then we have to go back out and arrest the guy.
Yeardley: [00:25:55] But Nick here is in custody.
Dave: [00:25:57] Nick is in custody. He’s socially awkward to the point where I’m like, “Is there going to be some sort of tick here that I need to worry about, whether or not he is competent to stand trial, whether he’s able to appreciate the difference between right and wrong?” So, I’m trying to figure that stuff out by talking to him just in general conversation like, “What are your interests,” that type of stuff.
[00:26:23] He’s pretty smart, quick, just socially awkward. So, there wasn’t anything going on there. It’s just he’s socially awkward. So, I book him in. That’s when the real work starts is I get to get into all the other files that he’s doing, and Detective Robert helps, and he build a case. Eventually, you go to grand jury and you read off your synopsis of every file that you came across. I remember the DA on this, same DA from Sociopath and the Whistleblower.
Yeardley: [00:26:55] Which is a four-part series we did in Season 1 of this podcast?
Dave: [00:27:00] Right. He goes, “I’m glad you’re on this. I don’t want to look at any files, read this synopsis to the grand jurors, and when they say, [unintelligible] or enough,’ then we’re going to stop, because I’m not putting people through this.”
Yeardley: [00:27:18] What’s their reaction? Do people bow their heads? Are there tears? Are they just–?
Dave: [00:27:22] All that.
Yeardley: [00:27:22] They can’t handle it.
Dave: [00:27:23] Yeah. And one lady, finally– She goes, “How many do you have?” I said, “I’ve got 50,” and I was on, like, 13.
Yeardley: [00:27:31] Oh, wow.
Dave: [00:27:32] The DA said, “Do you guys need him to read anymore or you guys just want to accept he’s got 50 files here? You guys want to take his word for it?” And they’re like, “Yeah.”
Yeardley: [00:27:42] “Please stop.”
Dave: [00:27:43] “Yeah, we don’t need to hear that.” I always feel bad about that. Nobody volunteers for jury service. They’re stuck there and they’re doing their civic duty. You imagine that gets dumped in your lap and you got to go home and see your kids.
Dan: [00:27:58] And you can’t talk about it. You can’t unpack it.
Yeardley: [00:28:00] All right.
Dave: [00:28:01] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:28:03] Jesus. Were you able to identify any of the victims in any of those files you saw from your case with Nick?
Dave: [00:28:12] I wasn’t able to find any of them, and there’s no indication that he ever had access to children or ever did anything to children himself. It was all his internet activity.
Dan: [00:28:23] The NCMEC is the one who takes those images and dissects them, basically looking for victims that they can identify.
Yeardley: [00:28:32] And what was his family’s reaction? Were they, “This isn’t our son” or were they, “What the hell have you done?”
Dave: [00:28:39] They were, “What the hell have you done? Why would you do that?” They love their son, and I can appreciate that they don’t love what their son did. So, the family is completely appropriate. They didn’t give us any issues. They were dealing with a lot that day, I mean, to come to grips with, “Okay, our son’s in deep shit, and this is what he’s been doing in our house?” He had sisters that were adults, and they were emotional, disgusted by what he was doing. Not supportive of what he was doing, but supportive of, “That’s my brother and I love him.”
Dan: [00:29:14] Sometimes, you see in these situations I’ve been on these search warrants with Dave where when you’re reading the warrant and these people are coming to terms with what they’re hearing, it’s like the stages of grief. There’s denial, and then there’s confusion, and then the anger. You can actually see on their faces. You can see them processing what’s going on. You get to the end after you get a partial confession or partial admission from your suspect, and these family members are resigned to the fact that now they actually believe the police.
Yeardley: [00:29:51] Right.
Dan: [00:29:51] And they don’t believe their family member.
Dave: [00:29:54] They have this little dialogue with you as you’re leaving like, “What are the next steps? And please don’t think that we were a part of that.” “No, this is on him. I’m not judging you at all.” You can’t pick your relatives. Every family’s got a black sheep or that person in their family that makes bad decisions. This just happens to be Nick. And so, I don’t judge families on that. I understand why families feel that way. It’s like, “You’re going to think this is a representation of how we raised our son?” I don’t feel that way. It’s not our job to judge him.
Yeardley: [00:30:31] Right.
Dave: [00:30:31] So, this guy ends up getting a prison sentence of [pause] about 10 years.
Yeardley: [00:30:38] [gasps] That’s it?
Dave: [00:30:39] Mm-hmm. I think about it this way. In our state, if you murder somebody, you’re looking at 25 to life. You’ve actually put your hands on somebody, you’ve actually violently killed them, you’ve injured somebody in a bad way for an assault charge, you stick a gun at somebody and steal their car, you carjacked them, you robbed them, those are violent crimes. This guy’s on the internet. And proportional to a murderer, a robber, somebody who actually sexually abuses a child, this guy gets 10 years for looking at pictures. You know where I am on this, but they were finding that–
[00:31:21] As far as justice goes, some of these guys were getting like 30-year sentences, and they’re like, “I never put my hand on somebody and I’m doing more time than somebody that murdered their girlfriend.” So, you have to look at it from that perspective. And so, this guy gets 10 years. 10 years a really long time for somebody socially awkward who’s got the label or stigma of being a child pornographer.
Yeardley: [00:31:21] In prison, because there’s that pecking order.
Dave: [00:31:47] Yep. So, those aren’t easy years.
Yeardley: [00:31:51] Would you say that this case was one of your worst child pornography cases that you investigated because of what you saw?
Dave: [00:32:01] At the time, it was. Absolutely, easily the worst I’d ever seen, the worst things I’d ever seen.
Yeardley: [00:32:06] There was worse than that after?
Dave: [00:32:08] Well, there’s this other case.
Yeardley: [00:32:09] Oh, my God.
Dan: [00:32:10] I thought I had seen the worst. Right when you think that you’ve seen the worst, you’ve made a bad mistake, because you’re going to see something much worse. Just wait. Just wait. If you think you’ve seen the worst, give it another few days.
Dave: [00:32:34] So, this is one where I was like, “Okay, this job can’t throw me anything worse than that. If that’s the bottom, I can deal with anything above that. And then I was introduced to this other suspect. Another case comes across my desk, probably a year and a half after the case with Nick, I get contacted by the NCMEC and they say, “Here,” and they give me the link to the case file. The NCMEC has a website where I can log in through the ICAC–
Yeardley: [00:33:09] Which is?
Dave: [00:33:10] Internet Crimes Against Children. It’s like an online case file. So, they upload it, the whole case, all the files, all the information I’m going to need. So, I log into this and I see that this is going to be a file sharing website, the cloud, that way it’s not saved to your local device. You can access it from any other device. You don’t have to carry your laptop around. So, this cloud file sharing service comes across one of their users who is very actively creating folders and giving permissions to other people to access certain folders that he had. When you get into the folders, it’s videos of the worst stuff I’d ever seen. I have ever seen. The absolute worst stuff I’ve ever seen. Much worse than Nick.
Yeardley: [00:34:06] Really?
Dave: [00:34:06] Yeah. So, I start going through that stuff, and fortunately, it’s not thousands. It’s 212 files, and they’re all videos. Some of them have interesting file names, while others are just a bunch of digits, like, auto assigned 46_58325_mp4. Nothing about that file name would make me go, “Oh, that’s probably got a three-year-old in it.” Other ones announce their presence with the file name.
Yeardley: [00:34:41] Do you have to watch all 212?
Dave: [00:34:43] Yeah, I watched all 212.
Yeardley: [00:34:45] Oh, my God. So, a lot of these file names would reference an age to give you kind of a ballpark of what the user would be looking at.
Dave: [00:34:55] Exactly. So, they pander to those interested in child sexual abuse just by the file name. That file name announces what you’re going to encounter when you open the file. So, in this case, I wrote up all 212 files, and I picked the top one hundred to submit in a report.
Yeardley: [00:35:15] Wow.
Dave: [00:35:17] Yeah. So, this one says, it’s five minutes long, another one says it’s a minute and 20, 58 seconds.
Yeardley: [00:35:25] How many did the grand jury get through on that case?
Dave: [00:35:28] So, this is an interesting case. I mentioned that sometimes people get released on a release agreement. This is a case where it’s a NCMEC hit. NCMEC says, “Hey, this guy was forwarded to us by his file sharing service. Here’s the IP address. We subpoenaed it and it returns to this house in the eastern part of our city. So, you got to do a site survey, so you can get a property description.” It’s a little cul-de-sac, and they live all the way into the cul-de-sac at the back of the cul-de-sac.
[00:35:59] So, I drove in, determine what the house is, and I sit out in front, and I get on my phone, and I search for available Wi-Fi, and a couple of them pop up. All of them are secured. So, I can’t log in unless I’ve got a password. So, I take a screenshot of what the available Wi-Fi spots are, because a lot of times we’ll get guys who say, “Oh, I’ve got publicly available Wi-Fi. So, somebody probably just drove into my cul-de-sac, used my Wi-Fi, and uploaded a bunch of child porn and then drove away.” We can get through that, but it’s usually, I want to defeat those defenses out in front. So, that’s what I did in this case. There’s no unsecured Wi-Fi signals. They’re all password protected. So, that’s easy for me.
[00:36:48] We go out, I read a search warrant for this guy. In this case, I had already seen all the content. And so, I hadn’t gotten to where I’d written down all the summaries of these files, but I knew what we were going to be dealing with, and I was like, “This guy is a priority.” And Detective Sergeant Dave, he basically says, “Go get him,” and he’s all about those cases. So, we do. It’s basically a knock and talk. Walk up, leave everybody back, just outside of the cul-de-sac, so they’re out of view, so it’s not this imposing government presence, we’re all tacked up in our vests. I walk up, we knock on the door, and he’s like, “Who is it?” And you can hear he’s playing a video game. “Police.” “What do you want?” That kind of stuff. I’m like, “Hey, hit pause and come to the door. You’ve got two detectives at your door.”
Yeardley: [00:37:41] I’m such a rule follower, if the police said I’m at your door, there’s no world where I would yell through the door, “What do you want?”
Dave: [00:37:48] Right.
Yeardley: [00:37:48] Crazy to me.
Dave: [00:37:49] So, he comes to the door and he’s– Oh, I’m trying to describe this guy. Fred Flintstone with bedhead. [Yeardley laughs] We just look at him, “There’s our guy.” I let him know, “Hey, I got a search warrant for your house.” He’s screaming for his parents, “Dad, mom.”
Dan: [00:38:13] I’m 100 yards away, and I’m sitting in my car with the window down, and I hear this screaming. He’s screaming like a banshee.
Yeardley: [00:38:21] So, he lives with his parents as well. How old is he?
Dave: [00:38:23] He’s 25.
Yeardley: [00:38:26] And what’s his name?
Dave: [00:38:27] His name is Tucker, and he is an online gamer, and he is a child pornographer, and I already know that going into this.
Yeardley: [00:38:38] Does he have a job?
Dave: [00:38:39] No. No job. Basically, his part of the house is the living room. He’s got his computer set up there. He had a kindle. Those were where his library was. We walk in, and I already knew what his email address was from what the ICAC had forwarded me. So, while we’re talking, I’m asking him like, “Hey, so let me get your basic info. Name, date of birth, social security number. You got an email address?” “No.” I go, “You don’t have an email address? How do you sign into your online game? You have to have something to get online.” “Oh, I’ve got this old, like, throwaway email address.” “Well, what is it? Tell me.” He gives it to me and it’s not the email address that I’m looking for. While I’m talking to him, his back is to his TV, and his screen saver pops up and it’s his username, which is his email address.
Yeardley: [00:39:37] Brilliant. [giggles]
Dave: [00:39:38] I was like, “What’s that?” And he turns around, he’s like, “Oh, that’s nothing.” I said, “You know why we’re here?” “No, I have no idea why you’re here.” I asked him, “Do you have a cloud storage account?” “No, but my neighbor does.” I said, “Oh, what’s the deal with your neighbor?” He’s like, “That guy, he gets onto my internet all the time.” I was like, “Is it secured or unsecured?” “It’s unsecured, and the guy knows my password, and he comes over, and he’ll come into my living room and log into my computer, because he doesn’t have one.” And so, the tail starts.
Yeardley: [00:40:10] The provable lies are immense.
Dave: [00:40:12] Right. So, he’s talking, and I’m like, “Oh, well, hang on.” I send Detective Robert in to do all of his diagnostics and stuff like that, and he’s got his equipment out, and he tells me, “Hey, there’s a really strong signal coming from this house and it’s on a hidden network.” I was like, “Oh, interesting.” He’s got his Wi-Fi signal set to private where it doesn’t even show up when you’re looking for available Wi-Fi. It doesn’t even pop up.
Dan: [00:40:41] You have to ask to join the network.
Dave: [00:40:43] You have to search for the network by name for it to actually show up. But Detective Robert has got special tools, and he’s like, “Oh, hey, there’s a really strong signal coming from this house and it doesn’t show up when you search for Wi-Fi.” That’s good to know.
Yeardley: [00:40:56] So, by now, your posse of the other five guys are in the house. You got Don, Justin, Dan, George. All the dudes are there, right?
Dave: [00:41:05] And we’ve got the parents there too.
Yeardley: [00:41:07] And how are they?
Dave: [00:41:08] They have “not my child syndrome,” “my child wouldn’t do this,” which we run into quite often.
Dan: [00:41:14] I remember they were yellers too. So, they would yell at us, and then they would look over at Tucker, and Tucker would yell at them. It was such a weird family dynamic. It was like I was in the Twilight zone.
Yeardley: [00:41:26] Was he yelling at them to be quiet?
Dan: [00:41:28] Yeah, like he ran the house.
Dave: [00:41:30] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:41:30] As though, “you’re yelling might somehow give me away, you don’t know what you’re saying, just stay out of this?”
Dan: [00:41:36] Yeah, he was kind of a tyrant in his own house.
Dave: [00:41:39] I was just going to say he was a tyrant, where his parents are submissive to him. But the way they communicate is they yell at each other. So, I go over this neighbor’s house and I said, “Hey, we’re dealing with your neighbor here.” And he goes, “I noticed. I noticed a lot of men with guns walking up to that house.” [Yeardley laughs] “What’s your read on your neighbor?” He goes, “He’s creepy.” “You talking about the kid, Tucker?” I go, “Yeah.” “What kind of interaction do you have with him?” He goes, “I avoid him like the plague. He’s weird. He’s an asshole. He does creepy stuff in our cul-de-sac.” This neighbor has kids. The people across the way from this neighbor. So, straight across the cul-de-sac, they have young kids.
[00:42:19] Every house except Tucker’s and the neighbor to the left, they’re a retired couple. So, every other house has young children in this neighborhood, and you’ve got Tucker doing what he does. So, this guy, I say, “You ever been into their house?” He goes, “I don’t even go over to that property.” He goes, “One time their dog got away and I walked the dog back, but I didn’t go inside. I just knocked on the door,” and was like, “Hey, your dog got out.” “They ever come over to your house?” He’s like, “Ah, no. That guy doesn’t come anywhere near my kids.” He goes, “What are you guys looking at?” I give him kind of a cliff notes version of what we’re dealing with. “Hey, this guy is doing some stuff online that is going to get him into some trouble.” “What are we talking about?” “Child porn.” He’s like, “It makes sense.” This guy has already got him profiled. So, I’ve eliminated Tucker’s claim that this neighbor comes over, and they’re chummy, and they use each other’s computers and stuff like that. It’s bullshit.
[00:43:18] So, at the end of this search, we come across a couple of Kindles. I take his gaming console, because who knows? You can access the internet. It might be on his gaming console, which you can imagine.
Yeardley: [00:43:32] Oh, the rage.
Dave: [00:43:34] I just destroyed this guy’s life by taking his gaming console and he’s like, “Why are you taking that?” “Hey, man, it’s in the search warrant.”
Yeardley: [00:43:41] “Because I can.”
Dave: [00:43:42] “Because I can.”
Dan: [00:44:31] Remember the dad was talking about also, because you said, “Well, who’s accessing this content?” And then the dad actually admitted, “Well, every now and then I might look at some child porn too.
Yeardley: [00:44:43] [gasps]
Dan: [00:44:43] He says, “Every once in a while, I look at my son’s Kindle.”
Dave: [00:44:47] He didn’t say exactly what he’s looking at, but the inference one could make is, “I’m looking at the same stuff my son is.” Well, it’s interesting. On our drive back to the police station with Tucker, Tucker says, “I think it’s my dad who’s doing this.”
Yeardley: [00:45:05] Oh, wow.
Dave: [00:45:06] But I’ve got this connected to Tucker’s email address. And it’s really obscure and specific type email address. It’s not email@example.com. It’s got numbers and a nickname in it. It’s specific to this Tucker guy. I don’t have any reason to believe it’s the parents.
Dan: [00:45:28] Remember the snuff stuff?
Dave: [00:45:29] Oh, yeah.
Yeardley: [00:45:30] [gasps]
Dave: [00:45:30] I forgot about this.
Yeardley: [00:45:32] You don’t mean with children.
Dave: [00:45:33] No, not with kids. And I don’t think Tucker is telling me the truth anyway. So, the first time we arrest him, when we’re driving back to the station, I’m asking him, “So, you say you trade. You have other people contact you and you trade videos. So, somebody will come to you and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got five videos. Do you have five videos to trade back and forth, like, trading baseball cards?”‘ And he says, “You know, I’m not really into child porn.” And I’m like, “Well, evidence seems to suggest that you are. Like, hundreds of videos and you’re pretty active.” He goes, “No, I’m into snuff films, but I know that other people who have snuff films and child pornography, child pornography is difficult to get and it’s a really valuable currency online. So, anytime I can get my hands on child porn, I collect it, knowing that I can pay for my snuff films that I’m actually into, and that’s my currency.”
Yeardley: [00:46:33] This is disgusting.
Dave: [00:46:35] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:46:36] Isn’t it illegal to own snuff films?
Dave: [00:46:38] Oh, yeah, because they involve murder.
Yeardley: [00:46:40] Yes.
Dave: [00:46:41] Yeah. So, he’s talking about the dark web and how he’s trying to find the end of the internet.
Yeardley: [00:46:47] What is that?
Dan: [00:46:48] Just follow links until you come to the dead end.
Yeardley: [00:46:51] There’s a dead end?
Dave: [00:46:52] I don’t even know. This guy is weird. The more he talks, the more I’m like, “This is a sophisticated user.” I don’t know how to get to the dark web, but he does. He knows where the secret door is. So, “All right, let’s go, talk about it. That way I can show how sophisticated you are.” We get him down to the station, he’s blaming it on his dad and at the same time saying, “My dad wouldn’t do that.” So, it’s just like this double talk. You can’t really follow it. But I get a statement from him. It’s pretty short and I book him in.
Yeardley: [00:47:24] Does he lawyer up or will he talk to you?
Dave: [00:47:27] So, I interviewed Tucker back at the station. While we’re dealing with Tucker, his parents show up at the police station, and tell me that they feel like I interviewed their son too long without having an attorney present for him. So, they end up contacting an attorney on behalf of their son, but he’s already talked to me.
Yeardley: [00:47:47] So, can your parents invoke for you?
Dave: [00:47:50] No. For a juvenile, yes. For 25-year-old, no.
Yeardley: [00:47:55] [giggles] Right.
Dave: [00:47:56] They cannot invoke for you. So, I end up booking Tucker into the jail on, I think, 10 charges, even though I had 200 plus that I could have applied. But at some point, it is overkill, and I’m thinking to myself, “Those 10 charges, those are serious felonies, prison time felonies.” They’ll hold him.
Yeardley: [00:48:15] Because they’re videos.
Dave: [00:48:17] They’re all videos. So, in my experience, our child porn guys were getting held. In this case, the jail is at capacity, and he ends up getting kicked loose on a release agreement. It’s not the jail that makes that decision. It’s the court system makes that decision. I remember being really fired up.
Yeardley: [00:48:36] Do they not realize the severity of the kinds of videos or that they are videos? I’m not understanding quite how that happens.
Dave: [00:48:44] Yeah, and I don’t know what kind of bad people they had in there at the time. It’s all a matrix of, “We got to keep the worst.” So, if you’re not the worst, even though you’re really bad, you can get out. So, he gets released on a release agreement. Okay. I was angry like, “What the hell? It hit the newspapers. Not my anger, but the fact that this guy was released, because a lot of the neighbors had seen that we had taken this guy, and the next day he’s back at his house, and they’re like, “What the hell?”
Yeardley: [00:49:15] So, did they call the paper?
Dave: [00:49:17] They contacted the paper. They contacted me a lot.
Yeardley: [00:49:21] The neighbors did?
Dave: [00:49:22] The neighbors. It’s kind of a volatile situation. You think of a cul-de-sac, that’s a tight little neighborhood, and you got all these people that find out. When he was lodged, we did a press release in the newspaper, and the news covered it. I think I had talked about when I gave a statement like, “This is real bad stuff. This is child porn. This is bad stuff. We’re talking young kids.” So, the neighbors figure out why he’s in jail from the news reports, and then they see him back in their neighborhood, and they’ve got kids, and they are understandably fired up. I get it.
[00:49:59] One of the neighbors contacted me, really, really angry and scared, and said, “I thought he was on a release agreement where he’s not supposed to be outside.” And I said, “Well, he can be in his front yard.” And she goes, “Yeah, he’s standing in his front yard watching my kids play. So much so that now we don’t let our kids play out in the cul-de-sac, we send them into the backyard.” This guy’s a menace. He’s out there because he knows the neighbors all hate him, so he’s out there poking the bear.
Yeardley: [00:50:27] Right.
Dave: [00:50:28] And all these people want to keep their kids sheltered away from this guy. I totally get it. So, Detective Robert and I are game planning like, “Can we find anything else on this guy?” He’s out for months. And Detective Robert gets creative. Detective Robert creates his own email address, and it was some absurd email address like, gonzo1234@gmail or something, just ridiculous. He sends Tucker an email that says, “Hey, you got any videos to trade?” Right away, he gets a reply. “Yeah, what do you got? I’m trying to rebuild my library. The cops took everything.”
Yeardley: [00:51:09] Wow.
Dave: [00:51:10] [laughs] And I’m like, “So, he’s got an attorney, but he’s committing new crimes, and we’re the police contacting him.” It’s weird.
Dan: [00:51:22] Part of his release agreement too is that he’s not supposed to be on the internet.
Yeardley: [00:51:25] Right. So, he’s in violation of his agreement. Doesn’t that mean you get to reset your clock-ish?
Dave: [00:51:31] That’s what we’re thinking. And also, if you think about it, say, we do a drug search warrant at your house, and we kick in Yeardley’s door, and we find all the methamphetamine that you keep in your basement, [Yeardley laughs] and all the cash and all the guns, you get released on a release agreement. A week later, I find out Yeardley’s getting more guns and more drugs, and basically restocking the shelves, what’s to prevent me from trying to do a controlled buy to get back into your house to get the rest of the drugs that you’re accumulating now, right?
Yeardley: [00:51:59] Right.
Dave: [00:52:00] So, in this case, I’ve got child pornography guy who’s trying to restock his shelves, and why can’t we reach out to him and say, “Hey, can I get some product from you?”
Yeardley: [00:52:09] Yeah, of course. Wouldn’t you test to see if he’s adhering to his agreement?
Dave: [00:52:13] So, it turns out, we’re playing by the rules. And Detective Robert, he enjoyed busting this guy just as much as I did. Robert gets into like, “What kind of videos do you have?” And he’s like, “Oh, HC,” hardcore. And then he gives us, like, age ranges.
Yeardley: [00:52:31] Wow.
Dave: [00:52:32] Children. Perfect. All right, that’s a crime. And so, I write another search warrant for his house.
Yeardley: [00:52:39] Based on Detective Robert’s email exchange.
Dave: [00:52:42] Yes. And I write a search warrant for his email, and we go back out to his house.
Yeardley: [00:52:48] [laughs] I bet he’s glad to see you.
Dave: [00:52:50] I knock on the door and he goes, “Who is it?” [laughs] “It’s the police.” “Go away.” Not like, “What do you want?” Because he already knows. “Go away.” “No, come to the door.” Screaming, he opens the door. I said, “Turn around. Put your hands beyond your back and you are under arrest,” not even having a conversation because he’s represented. So, he starts screaming again, and his parents are in the back of the house, and he’s screaming bloody murder. I mean, neighbors are coming out onto their front porch. He’s causing such a scene.
Yeardley: [00:53:21] And is he just motherfucking you and stuff?
Dave: [00:53:24] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:53:24] Yeah.
Dave: [00:53:25] So, I feel like he and I had a relationship at this point, right? [Yeardley laughs] So, that was fun, because he had already gotten two new Kindles. He had gotten another gaming system. They got their new router.
Yeardley: [00:53:39] Where does he get the money for that if he doesn’t have a job?
Dave: [00:53:42] His parents.
Yeardley: [00:53:43] I just don’t understand how you would– I mean, you know what your son has done.
Dave: [00:53:48] The parents told me, “Yeah, we know he’s on a release agreement, but we make sure that he doesn’t ever get online. We have all the devices.” I go, “Where are they?” “Mm, one should be in the living room.” I’m like, “Well, you guys are never in the living room. Your son is.” “Well, but we can hear if he’s getting on the internet.” I’m like, “That doesn’t even make sense.”
Yeardley: [00:54:08] Just stop it.
Dave: [00:54:09] Yeah. Mom’s bedridden. She just hangs out in her bedroom. The dad hangs out mostly with mom, because him and his son just yell at each other. So, they’re in the back of the house, and Tucker is in the living room playing games all the time and getting on the Kindle. So, we arrest him again, take him down to the station, and I’m doing my paperwork or whatever, send him over to the jail again, and book him in on new charges for the new files that we found, which is only, I don’t know, five more. So, I’ve got all these other charges that we had already charged him with. After he got released, we did grand jury, and I think he ends up getting charged with 30. So, we’re going through that process, but he’s out this whole time. And then we arrest him again after the second search warrant, and book him in. He gets released within a couple of hours. Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:55:02] Dave?
Dave: [00:55:02] And I expected that.
Yeardley: [00:55:04] Why?
Dave: [00:55:04] Because he’d already been released. And I said, “By the way, he’s violated his release agreement. I would hope that would revoke his release.” It didn’t. So, he stayed in jail for a few hours and got released. Oh, well, I tried. I’m doing my part. It’s not the jail’s fault. I want to be clear. It is the court’s, somebody from the court found it appropriate to let him out. It wasn’t a jail official saying, “No, you’re getting kicked out.” It’s not the case. So, he’s released. We’re waiting for trial. It’s the same district attorney who did the Nick case has this one. I hand pick her, because she is a bulldog. She goes after people, and she’s awesome. Great to work with.
[00:55:50] She says, “Oh, you got another one on Tucker?” “Yeah.” “All right, added on to everything else.” I said, “What are we looking at deal wise?” And she goes, “I mean, 10 years.” And I go, “That makes me feel bad for Nick, because this guy is way worse than Nick.” And she’s like, “I know, but I got my hand slapped for getting these big sentences on these guys.” They’re saying, “It’s not fair.” Some of these sentences were basically getting remanded back to the courts for resentencing, because it’s too harsh. Proportionately, Nick probably only deserved five compared to what Tucker is dealing with.
[00:56:31] Tucker, during the time that he was in jail, he made a phone call. So, I check his jail tapes, and he’s talking to his dad, and his dad says, “Hey, I talked to your attorney. That other Kindle, I gave it to your attorney.” And I’m like, “We missed one of his devices.” All right. So, I ended up going to the defense attorney’s office. I said, “Hey, you have something that belongs to me. You guys want the child porn in your office or do you want me to write a search warrant?” And they’re like, “No, we’ll give it to you. Here you go.” And it was a Kindle that had been completely dismantled.
Yeardley: [00:57:10] But dismantled by the attorney or by Tucker?
Dave: [00:57:13] The attorney told me that Tucker’s dad had handed it off, and they said, “This is the condition it was in.” It had been absolutely destroyed.
Dan: [00:57:21] Just fell apart?
Dave: [00:57:22] Just fell apart.
Yeardley: [00:57:23] They don’t make them like they used to.
Dave: [00:57:25] Yeah. No, it was clear this thing had been broken, beaten, destroyed by probably a hammer.
Yeardley: [00:57:31] And you couldn’t recover anything from the hard drive?
Dave: [00:57:34] No. There’s nothing we could do with it. The inner guts of this thing were all snapped in half.
Yeardley: [00:57:39] Wow. So, somebody didn’t want you to see what was on that.
Dave: [00:57:42] Right. So, no luck there. He ends up taking his medicine and says, “All right, 10 years is the offer? I’ll take it.” So, he gets sentenced to 10 years.
Yeardley: [00:57:51] Did Nick and Tucker end up in the same prison?
Dave: [00:57:54] Most of my guys ended up at the same spot. So, yeah, they’re probably in the same prison comparing stories. I’m sure Nick doesn’t like Tucker. I don’t know that anybody would like Tucker. He’s just ornery.
Dan: [00:58:05] Misanthrope.
Dave: [00:58:06] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:58:07] You said you had to watch 212 child porn videos. But he wasn’t into child porn. He was into snuff films. Did you have to watch any of those?
Dave: [00:58:15] I couldn’t find any evidence of any snuff films anywhere. I think he’s just blowing smoke.
Yeardley: [00:58:21] Oh, interesting.
Dave: [00:58:22] Yeah. So, he’s into child porn.
Yeardley: [00:58:25] Funny that he thought that snuff films would somehow be the lesser of two evils. He’s a jerk.
Dave: [00:58:30] Yeah. I’m wondering if he’s just trying to avoid the label, the child porn label like, “No, you’ve got it, but I’m not into it.” [laughs]
Yeardley: [00:58:38] Yeah, exactly.
Dave: [00:58:40] It’s just currency for me. No, I think it’s something else.
Yeardley: [00:58:42] Wow, Dave, how you go about having to investigate those cases is so interesting. And again, I just go back to the horror of having to watch all that stuff?
Dave: [00:58:55] Yeah, I think that’s where the scotch comes in.
Yeardley: [00:58:57] Right.
Dave: [00:58:58] I think I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I’m trying to knock bad memories out with new memories and new information.
Yeardley: [00:59:04] Better ones.
Dave: [00:59:05] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:59:06] Yeah.
Dave: [00:59:06] So, if I can get rid of all that stuff, I’m happy.
Yeardley: [00:59:09] Yeah.
Dave: [00:59:10] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:59:10] Well, thank you for that.
Dave: [00:59:12] Absolutely.
Dan: [00:59:13] Thank you, Dave.
Dave: [00:59:13] Thank you, Dan and Yeardley. Always a pleasure. Actually, I enjoy this.
Yeardley: [00:59:18] It is always a pleasure.
Dave: [00:59:19] It’s like decompression and decontamination, I can get it off me.
Yeardley: [00:59:24] I’m so glad.
Dave: [00:59:25] And I drop it in your lap, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:59:26] [laughs] Fair enough. I will hold it.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:59:32] You guys are the best.
[00:59:37] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith and coproduced by detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. And our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [01:00:05] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com. And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @smalltowndicks. We love hearing from you.
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Yeardley: [01:00:32] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [01:00:38] -in search of the finest-
Dave: [01:00:40] -rare-
Dan: [01:00:41] -true crime cases told as always, by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [01:00:46] So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [01:00:48] Nobody’s better than you.
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