IMLAY CITY — Imlay City Police Officer Sean Leathers is being commended for his role in the arrest of a 33-year-old Canadian man who had attempted to sexually exploit an 11-year-old Imlay City girl.
Police Chief Scott Pike said Leathers' involvement dates back to September 26, 2017, when he responded to the initial report of internet stalking and child pornography.
"The victim and her family reported that she had met a stranger online through Facebook messenger," said Pike. "The victim explained that she met the suspect while playing a video game on X-box live."
Pike said that over time, the suspect was able to befriend the victim and began requesting nude photographs from the girl.
The girl did send photographs to the male, who in turn sent graphic photos of himself to her.
"Officer Leathers took the initial complaint and undertook the investigation," said Pike. "After preparing a search warrant for Facebook records, Officer Leathers was able to identify the suspect as a resident of Winnepeg Manitoba, Canada.
After collecting the victim's computer devices, the Imlay City officer submitted them to the Michigan State Police cyber investigation unit.
In addition, photos of the suspect were located as well as records of the conversation.
Once the suspect was identified, said Pike, all of Leathers' investigative material was delivered to Winnipeg Police Detective Chad Black, whose internet child exploitation unit took up the investigation.
Pike said that on June 6, 2018, Detective Black notified the Imlay City Police Department that they had executed a search warrant and had arrested the suspect.
He added that the suspect is being charged with 13 counts of child pornography and the investigation is ongoing.
"Due to Officer Leathers' professionalism, investigative skills and determination to see justice served, a potentially dangerous child predator has been identified and arrested," said Pike. "There is no telling how many future victims he may have saved.
"He (Officer Leathers) is a credit to the law enforcement profession and to the Imlay City Police Department."
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.