Man arrested in Mid-Michigan in child porn case
(06/07/17) - It's a warning for parents who have children with access to the internet after a man enticed an 8-year-old girl to send him nude photos of herself.
The girl lives in Port Austin in Huron County and was using the social media KIK app and the criminal complaint indicates there could be other arrests.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified police in October that the father of the girl reported that multiple KIK users had contacted his daughter to send nude photos of herself.
Sixty-year-old Garret Hawkey of Albion is the only person charged in the federal complaint. The U.S. Homeland Security Department conducted the investigation, which revealed an unknown number of KIK users sent pornographic pictures to the girl and asked her to send nude photos of herself back to them.
Hawkey's username was lonleytrucker69 and he told the girl, who he knew was only 8 years old, that "I pinky promise not to share them."
Investigators say they found the nude photos of the girl and other child pornography on Hawkey's cell phone.
Hawkey is a truck driver and was arrested in Illinois. Police believe he also distributed the nude photos of the girl.
Annie Coker, of Child and Family Services of Saginaw, says her agency has seen the KIK app come up in cases they work on. She says this is a reminder for parents to have conversations with their children about online dangers and be vigilant with their kids when it comes to their internet usage.
“It’s disturbing, it's a very scary thing,” she said. “We need to monitor, we need to make sure we know what our kids are doing on computers, on phones, and I know it's difficult.”
KIK released a statement about the investigation saying, in part, "We take online safety very seriously, and we're constantly assessing and improving our trust and safety measures."
We could not reach anyone with the federal government about this investigation Wednesday, but the criminal complaint indicates there are most likely other victims and suspects in this case.