Editor's Note: The following is a press release issued Monday by the Washington State Patrol.
Detectives from the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force (MECTF) have made an arrest involving allegations of Child Pornography, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and Extortion.
MCTEF detectives initiated the investigation in late April after being alerted by a concerned parent of one of the girls involved. The investigation positively identified eight underage victims all in the Pierce County area.
Detectives learned Monday morning that the suspect had returned from an overseas deployment. David Michael Ford, 24, of Macon, Georgia and currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM) was taken into custody this afternoon and booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges of (1) Possession of Depictions of a Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct, (2) Communication With A Minor for Immoral Purposes, (3) Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and (4) Extortion.
The investigation involved interviewing dozens of victims and witnesses. The allegations involved female victims ranging in ages from 15 to 17 years old. While most the allegations involved online activities, the investigation revealed there were two instances where Ford met in person with his victims. The investigation revealed Ford would use money, gifts, and ultimately “fear tactics” to extort illegal images and video from his victims.
Evidence obtained from Ford’s computer showed dozens of images of other potential victims that have yet to be identified. The WSP continues to encourage anyone believing they may have been victims of Ford to contact MECTF detectives at 360-704-2400.
MECTF is a multi-agency task force within the WSP comprised of detectives from the WSP and the Lakewood Police Department. MECTF provides support to local agencies across the state in cases involving missing and abducted children and child exploitation.