MySpace Predator Could Have 100 Teen Victims
Police: MySpace Predator Could Have 100 Teen Victims
Authorities believe there may be dozens of victims of a MySpace scam
that targeted teenage girls thoughout California, Canada and the United
32-year-old Joshua David Threlkeld is accused of posing as a
14-year-old girl to get teens to model for photos, then having sex with
At least ten victims have been identified in Orange, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Investigators believe there could be up to 100 more.
Threlkeld was arrested Friday, following an investigation that began in February with a report from two teenage girls who said they were contacted by a man who posed as a 14-year-old girl using the name Sarah Miller on MySpace, according to sheriff's Sgt. David Gutierrez.
The girls were asked if they wanted to pose for photos with a man named "Josh" who ran a modeling agency called "Model-508 Studio," according to sheriff's officials. The two girls were picked up in Moreno Valley and driven to Orange County where the man photographed them. One of the girls was asked to pose during a second photo shoot in Palm Springs. Officials say that's when the man had sex with the girl.
"When she became despondent because she wouldn't be paid for modeling, Threlkeld offered her money for sex," sheriff's Detective Matthew Weinstein wrote in the declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
"Desperate to get money because her mother was on welfare and ... behind on rent," the girl agreed and got into a shower with the defendant, where she gave him oral sex and allowed him to do the same, as well as another sex act, the detective alleged.
The girl was allegedly paid $120 and taken home, Weinstein said.
Authorities were alerted after a friend of one of the girls learned about the alleged incidents and told her own mother, who contacted that girl's mother, according to court documents.
Investigators were able to track down a man who fit the description of "Josh" using MySpace. His neck tattoos made him easy to track down, according to Guitierrez.
Police searched Threlkeld's Orange County home and seized computers, cell phones, and cameras.
Investigators with the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team checked the suspect's MySpace site, `Model-508 Studios," and determined it was an online solicitation site for nude modeling work, and was apparently geared toward girls between 13 and 17 years of age, authorities said.
According to Weinstein, Threlkeld was successful in getting many girls to send him graphic, revealing poses of themselves.
Weinstein's declaration states that Threlkeld, in an interview with detectives, admitted to being "sick" and taking nude photos of girls and sending those photos to them in order to entice them into taking more sexually explicit photos for him.
Threlkeld said he need help for his "addiction," Weinstein wrote.
"He claimed the original two victims were `jealous' and he did not know what they would say about him," Weinstein wrote.
Threlkeld is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of kidnapping to commit rape; aggravated sexual assault of a minor by force; penetration by force, violence, duress, menace or fear; communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a specified offense; and arranging a meeting with a minor.
More charges in connection with additional alleged victims, plus child pornography charges, may be forthcoming, authorities indicated.
Does your child use Myspace? At what age did they join? Do you have their password? Would you be their friend? How do you protect your children online?