POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 2:41pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 3:17pm
SALINAS, CA (KTSM) — The nationwide manhunt for an accused child pornographer ended last night, officials said
David J. Stevens, 58, was taken into custody in Salinas by HSI special agents and investigators with the Salinas Police Department. Authorities also rescued a child victim identified in the case. The arrest and rescue came after a member of the public called in a lead to ICE's tip line. Stevens appeared before a federal magistrate in San Jose, where the case will be prosecuted.
The criminal complaint and arrest warrant for John Doe were signed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. At that time, HSI had no information about the identity or whereabouts of John Doe, but he was believed to be located somewhere in the United States.
The victim shown in the video is said to be a 7 to 9 year old child.
"When the HSI special agents investigating this case ran out of leads, we turned to the media and the general public for help," said ICE Director John Morton. "A day later, a tip from the public has led to the capture of an alleged predator and more importantly, the rescue of a child. I applaud our investigators, the media and the brave individual who provided critical information. Without the public's help we would not have solved this case."
"This predator was arrested very quickly after the member of the public came forward to identify him," said Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin.
According to the criminal complaint filed by HSI in Washington, D.C., four videos of child pornography with date stamps of April 14 and 27 were first discovered by the Danish National Police on May 3 and referred to U.S. law enforcement for further investigation.
Following Stevens' arrest, investigators obtained a search warrant for the defendant's Salinas residence where they seized additional evidence related to the case.
Based upon interviews with witnesses, HSI special agents believe there may be additional unidentified child victims and are asking anyone with further information regarding the person in the photographs below, who has now been identified as David John Stevens, of Salinas, to call ICE's tip line - 1-866-347-2423 or the Salinas Police Department's Investigations Division at 1-831-758-7226. The public may also contact the Salinas Police Department anonymously by calling 1-831-775-4222 or by contacting the We-Tip line at 1-800-78-CRIME.