During an ongoing joint investigation by the Jackson Police Department and Madison County Sheriff’s Office, a 17-year-old male has been charged with two counts each of extortion and identity theft, according to a Wednesday evening joint release from the law enforcement agencies.
The release said after the teen’s mother was notified that he was wanted, he surrendered at the Madison County Juvenile Detention Center around noon Tuesday. Following a detention hearing in Madison County Juvenile Court, the teen was released to his parents Tuesday evening and court ordered to have no contact with the victims and restricted from using electronic devices that can access the Internet. A hearing date has not been set.
In March 2012, a 17-year-old Jackson male reported to Jackson police that he had traded nude photos of himself in exchange for nude photos of a woman. Shortly afterward, the person who the teen was exchanging photos with threatened to publish the teen’s nude photos on the Internet if the teen did not continue to send them.
In the same month, a 12-year-old South Fulton boy reported to the Martin police that he had traded nude photos of himself in exchange for nude photos of a woman, the release said. The 12-year-old was also told that he had to continue to send nude photos of himself or his nude photos would be published on the Internet.
Both the 17-year-old teen and 12-year-old boy refused to meet the demands and had no further contact.
The release said a year later, the 17-year-old teen was contacted by the suspect via text message from an anonymous number and the 12-year-old boy was contacted by the suspect via Facebook. They were both told to send more nude photos or the photos that they had previously sent would be published on the Internet.
When they refused, the suspect created fake Facebook accounts in the two victims’ names, the release said. The suspect then published the nude photos to both Facebook pages by using the victims’ photos that he had possessed since 2012.
Investigators identified a 17-year-old as the suspect. Investigators also determined that he had extorted the youths, created the fake accounts and published their nude photos from his home in Madison County.
Investigators recovered the nude photos from the Internet for evidence, and then contacted Facebook so the photos could be removed.
The release said the two victims do not know each other. Investigators are also exploring the reason why they were chosen. Investigators also learned that the nude photos of the woman that were sent by the suspect were downloaded from a pornographic website.
The District Attorney General’s Office has indicated to police that they intend to file a motion to have the teen tried as an adult.