BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Earlier this week a 20-year-old Bay County man was arrested for allegedly flying a juvenile from California to Panama City Beach and engaging in sexual acts with them.
The two met on a popular app used for voice and text chat and now the Bay County Sheriff’s office wants to keep online safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
When the Bay County Sheriff’s Office received a request for assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department on September 25th concerning a missing juvenile, they were able to track them down in the company of 20-year-old Luke Davis.
“He’s looking at a long time in prison,” said Sergeant of Criminal Investigations, Stephen Rhinehart.
Davis was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor and one count of interference with child custody. The two started talking on an app called ‘Discord’.
Many predators are using social media or chat rooms apps to interact with children at the touch of a button.
“Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, where you have these messaging capabilities down to any of these games that you play, even Disney games or whatever. Any game that allows for a message to be sent between two users,” said Sgt. Rhinehart.
Law enforcement says parental involvement and supervision is key.
“Kids these days are being very secretive about the things they do, they don’t want anybody seeing what’s going on inside of their devices or their phone. Ultimately you don’t know who it is on the other side of the device because anyone can be anyone,” said Sgt. Rhinehart.
Sheriff’s office officials urge parents if they do see someone interacting with their child in a suspicious manner to contact their local law-enforcement officials.