CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- An alarming case uncovered a California man tried to lure an 8-year-old girl by posing as a friend of a child actress. It’s a warning from law enforcement that might scare some parents about their child's online use.
- Juan Beltran, 27, accused of soliciting girl
- Police say he asked for inappropriate photos
- Child's father heard phone notifications late at night
“About eight weeks ago we received a report from a father in our county stating that his daughter had been solicited online through her cell phone,” said Sheriff Lt. Nathan Fisher with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the FBI, one out of five children will be solicited for sex online. The girl thought she was chatting with another child claiming to be a close friend of popular Nickelodeon child actress JoJo Siwa. Investigators say the suspect was really 27-year-old Juan Beltran from California. He was using Instagram to communicate with the girl.
“At a point in the conversation, he would begin asking for photos of the person, innocent at first, and then quickly inappropriate-type photos he was asking for,” Fisher said.
He says thanks to a good rule followed by the parent, the phone was being charged at night outside of the girl's room. Officers say her father heard notifications coming throughout the night and detectives traced the suspect to California, and San Bernardino deputies made the arrest.
Fisher says that's why parents should keep young children's phones close to them and check any social media.