Picture Leads International Officials To Abuse Victim
Authorities have located this girl, safe and sound
A 15-year-old girl who appeared in a series of sexually explicit pictures taken at a Walt Disney World hotel and other locations has been found and is now safe, authorities said Friday, May 13.
The girl, whose name was not released, was located in the Pittsburgh area after officials found a match Thursday in one of several law enforcement databases of child pornography, state and federal officials said. Police publicized the girl's photo in April in hopes that someone could identify her.
The girl is not in any new danger and the man believed responsible for taking the pictures is already serving time in a federal prison, said Jamie Zuiebeck, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. No details on the alleged perpetrator were released.
"All of the investigators are really happy she is safe," Zuiebeck said. "This has been a continuing effort to look at all the available resources to try and identify her." -AP
What Has Happened So Far
Authorities released this photo in hopes of identifying the young girl
Police said at least one image of the girl had been taken at a Walt Disney World hotel several years ago and that she was probably abused almost daily. The girl appeared in about 200 explicit photos that circulated on the Internet for at least three years.
Florida and Canadian law enforcement officials released the picture of a young girl who authorities described as a possible witness in an Internet child pornography investigation. Detectives hoped the newly released photo of a dark-haired girl, who investigators did not believe was sexually exploited, would help them identify a blonde-haired girl seen in a serious of sexually explicit pictures.
The dark-haired girl's image was included in a collage found on the Internet that included the sexually exploited blonde-haired girl, who detectives believe was sexually abused for the past several years and has appeared in 200 explicit photos.
There was no evidence suggesting that the dark-haired girl was a victim of sexual or physical abuse. There is also no evidence that the photos were being used in a pornography ring.
A Break In The Case
The Toronto Sex Crimes Unit digitally removed the child victim from these photos hoping that the public could identify the crime scenes. It worked, and tips led them to a Walt Disney World Resort.
In February 2005, Toronto police released an image of a room - using computer software to paint out the victim - where the blond girl was photographed, in the hope someone would recognize something familiar.
The plan paid off and based on tips, police determined the room in the photograph was a hotel room at Walt Disney's Port Orleans Resort French Quarter in Orlando, Florida. However, officials believe those photos were taken two or three years ago.
With the release of the new photo in April, Florida and Candian officials hoped someone, somewhere would recognize the young girl and lead them to successfully identifying the perpetrator and recovering the victim. Now, their hopes have turned into reality.