Loogootee, IN – Members of the Indiana State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and Digital Forensics Unit with assistance from the Martin County Sheriff’s Department and Loogootee Police Department served a search warrant at 604 North John F. Kennedy, Apartment 14, in Loogootee, following an investigation into the possession of child pornography.
ICAC Detective Robert Whyte initiated the investigation in January 2023 after receiving several cybertip reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The cybertip reports indicated that an unknown individual was in possession of child sex abuse material (child pornography).
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing services nationwide to families and law enforcement officials relating to the prevention of abduction and sexual exploitation of children. Pursuant to its mission and congressional authorization (42 U.S.C. 5773), NCMEC operates the CyberTipline and the Child Victim Identification Program to provide assistance to law enforcement officials in its efforts to identify victims of child pornography and child sexual exploitation.
During the course of his investigation, Detective Whyte identified the suspect as Ryan Watkins, a 45-year-old male who resides in Loogootee. Detectives and Troopers located Watkins driving on US50 and conducted a traffic stop. As a result, Watkins was arrested and transported to Martin County Jail for the following charges:
- Three Counts of Possession of Child Pornography Under 12 Years Old, Level 5 Felony
Assisting ISP ICAC detectives and examiners from the Digital Forensics Unit with the residential search warrant were Troopers from the Jasper and Bloomington posts, Martin County Sheriff Department Officers, and Loogootee Police Department Officers.
Anyone having any information related to crimes against children is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency or visit the NCMEC website at http://www.missingkids.com/home <https://protect2.fireeye.com/v1/url?k=31323334-50bba2bf-31367a34-4544474f5631-8a2a778aae982fe5&q=1&e=8626aced-77a9-4a7c-835d-2219fa938a3b&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.missingkids.com%2Fhome> and find the link to make a CYBERTIPLINE report.
All criminal defendants are to be presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.