VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV ) — A 39-year-old Florida man was arrested for allegedly traveling to Vancouver to meet with a minor for sex.
Samuel Aaron Leonard had been communicating with the 14-year-old girl for several months through a variety of social media platforms while posing as a 20-year-old, Vancouver police said.
Vancouver and Kalama police partnered to find Leonard.
Detectives and Kalama police met with the victim and her family, then assumed her online persona and began an undercover operation to find and expose the suspect.
During the chats online, detectives learned Leonard was in the Vancouver area and was making plans to meet the victim.
Leonard allegedly arrived at the victim’s home to bring a cell phone, candy and a love letter, Vancouver police said. He was arrested without incident.
A search warrant on three phones Leonard possessed had sexual exploitive chats with the victim and undercover officers, thousands of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit activity and a Google map used to find the victim’s home.
A love letter found in the bag detailed Leonard’s obsession for the girl and how he had immediately gone to her house after arriving in Washington on a bus, according to investigators. He also explained that he purchased the cell phone so they could communicate secretly. The letter went further to detail that he even watched the victim’s younger brother playing in the yard.
Police also found items at the hotel that indicate that he was planning to kidnap the girl.
Leonard was arrested and was charged with communication with a minor for immoral purposes, first degree possession of child pornography, first degree dealing of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor.
The Vancouver Police Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force encourages anyone who believes a child is being exploited online to call 911 to report their concerns to law enforcement immediately.
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