NEWCASTLE, Okla. - Investigators are working to catch a suspect targeting students.
Carla Tillison and other parents at Newcastle Schools were concerned when they received a letter from administrators. It said several elementary and middle school girls were targeted by a predator on Instagram. (Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos.)
“I was a little rattled and a little shaken couldn’t believe this could happen in a quaint little town.”
“The person was sending them inappropriate messages and asking for inappropriate things like pictures and so forth,” said Superintendent Tony O’Brien.
Investigators said the suspect followed nearly 60 students on the site and the person behind the screen even tried to lure the young girls into meeting them.
“What was written was scary enough that they were pretty concerned,” said O’Brien.
Some of the students who received the explicit messages while at school told their teachers immediately. The superintendent alerted police and sent a letter to parents.
“It worries you but then again they’re pretty savvy knowing what to do and it was really comforting the he was on the ball with it,” said Tillison”
Detective Kevin Morrissey, with Newcastle Police, said it’s imperative for parents to know what social media accounts their kids have and the passwords to monitor them often.
“They need to talk to their children about internet predators that they can pose as someone else even if they pose as a young girl or a young boy, it could be pictures they’ve stolen from someone else,” said Morrissey.
Lucky this time, students didn’t give into the suspect’s demands, a relief to parents like Tillison.
“It’s huge that they stepped up and told because who knows what could have happened.”
Detectives couldn’t say much about the case but told News Channel 4 they are working aggressively to make sure the suspect is found and stopped.