by Emily Waldrep
A 25 year old Brookeland man is behind bars after being accused of lurinåg a 13 year old away from her home using free smart phone messaging services and sexually assaulting her at least twice since December of 2013.
On Monday, May 5 at approximately 4:50 a.m., Tyler County Communications personel received a call reporting a missing 13-year-old female from her residence located in Fred, Texas. When Tyler County Sheriff's deputies' arrived at the home, her family had located the child. Once on scene the deputy began an investigation and determined that a white male, identified as Crockett Jacob Roddam, age 25 of Brookeland, Texas, had lured the 13-year-old child away from her home.
"The 13 year old victim was communicating with Roddam by cellular telephone, also known as her smart phone," said deputy Stefani Wade with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department. "They had been communicating through a free messaging service called KIK and Snapchat, which are free applications on a Smartphone that anybody can download."
According to Wade, the victim's sister woke up and noticed her sister was gone but had left her cell phone and determined that she had been contacting Roddam, who identified himself as only "Jacob," and that he and the 13 year old had made plans to meet each other on the weekend of May 3 right down the road from the victims house.
After meeting up with the victim, Roddam dropped her off back at her house and the victim's sister was able to identify the car that Roddam was driving.
The Tyler County deputy coordinated with the Child Abuse Forensic service, located in Beaumont, as well as the Garth House, a child advocacy center. The victim received a SANE exam at 9 a.m the same morning that the call came in, and by 12:30p.m, the SANE nurse that did the examination provided information to deputies that confirmed that the victim had been sexually assaulted.
"At that point, it was really critical for us to secure the cell phone," Wade said.
Through the investigation of phone records and interviews, it was determined that the victim had been communicating with Roddam since December and had snuck out and met up with him once before.
The day after the call came in, Wade reached out to Deborah Gannaway with the FBI, due to her experience in cyber crimes. After Wade informed Gannaway about the case, Gannaway traveled to Tyler County to assist the Sheriff's Department in their investigation.
Federal authorities filed a motion for the arrest and detention of Roddam, who will be facing federal charges in addition to possible pending Tyler County charges. Roddam was arrested on June 4, just a month after the original call came in.
"I think it says a lot about our agency and the FBI," Wade said. "It is great that we were able to get their help."
Roddam admitted that he knew the victim was 13. Roddam also offered to pay the victim and her 13-year-old friend to have sex with him "one last time" before he "went to jail."
"We want people to know that Tyler County is completely involved in this case," Roddam said.
"We are very concerned about the safety of the kids. We want to stress to parents that their worse nightmare could be the cell phone they are providing to their children. Most people purchase a cell phone so they can get in touch with their kids quickly, but you don't need a smart phone for that. We just really want parents to be aware that it's not just Facebook that can be dangerous – it's the entire Internet. Sexting is through the roof right now and parents don't even know it."