78
      Wednesday
      90 / 65
      Thursday
      89 / 66
      Friday
      89 / 67

      UPDATE:19-year-old arrested in Lee County on child porn charges

      Erik Arne Sandal

      Today, FOX 31 spoke with investigators from the Lee County Sheriff's Office about the 19 â"year-old Lee County man arrested over the weekend on child pornography charges.

      Lieutenant Colonel Chris Owens of the Lee County Sheriff's Office told me he and his men now spend more time surfing cyberspace for criminals than they do pounding the pavement. He says that computer experience definitely paid off in this case.

      Last Sunday, 19-year-old Erik Sandal left his Leesburg home on Buckston Trace Lane to pick up his computer. A local technician had called and told Sandal the computer was ready but when he arrived, he was met by an investigator with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

      "When Mr. Sandal showed up to pick up his computer, basically greeted him with, 'hey, I'm an investigator with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and let's talk about your computer,'" said Owens.

      Sandal was arrested and charged with one count of child pornography and one count of child exploitation. It seems Sandal's computer tech had contacted law enforcement a few days earlier after reportedly discovering graphic images on the machine's hard drive. Those photographs, 70 in all, were apparently non-nude photos of preteen girls â" suspicious but not legally considered pornography.

      Sheriff Reggie Rachals told us it took more digging to turn up pictures he says clearly fit the definition of child pornography. "Naked young girls between the ages of 11 and 13 years of age," said Rachals.

      Erik Sandal has been released from the Lee County Jail on a $6,000 bond but when he gets home, his computer won't be there. That's because it's been turned over to the GBI for further analysis. "We were worried about if he was sharing it with somebody else but that's something that the GBI is going to have to find out and dig deep into," said Rachals.

      At this point, investigators do not believe the photos allegedly found on Sandal's computer are of local girls but they're also not sure where he got them.

      Rachals has not released the name of the computer business or the technician that called them about Erik Sandal. He told us he did not want to discourage others from picking up the phone in the future.

      You can learn more about child pornography at the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and you tips for protecting your children at the Association of Sites Advocating for Child Protection.

      Original:

      The Lee County Sheriff's Office arrested Erik Arne Sandal, 19, on Tuesday on child pornography charges.

      The Sheriff's Office says they're charging the 19-year-old with one count of Child Pornography and one count of Child Exploitation.

      More details will be released at a press conference Wednesday morning. FOX 31 will bring you the information as it becomes available.

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