The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force has arrested 39-year-old Michael Paul Heath of Austin, Texas. Heath was the subject of an investigation by the Austin Police Department resulting in arrest warrants alleging Heath was in Possession of Child Pornography and additionally charged with Sexual Performance of a Child.
According to the Austin Police Department, an investigation began during July 2016 into a report concerning the online solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. The investigation began after a 14-year-old victim reported to her family that she was in fear of people she had been communicating with on multiple cell phone applications.
The Victim admitted to sending nude photographs using the applications installed on her phone.
The Victim was contacted on the phone application Whisper by a person she believed to be a female named Sally. The Victim told officers that she felt like Sally was her friend and at some point, Sally provided the Victim with a phone number for a male named Mike.
The Victim then began texting Mike and communicating with him on Snapchat.
Sally told the Victim that she had been abused by her father and brother. The Victim was then contacted by someone claiming to be Sally's brother Steve. Steve became aggressive with the Victim and told her if she didn't send nude photographs to him he would hurt his sister Sally. The Victim took pictures of her breast and sent them to Steve through the phone applications Whisper and KiK. According to the Victim, she felt she had no choice because she didn't want Steve to hurt Sally.
The Victim told Mike about what Steve was doing. Mike told the Victim he would "take care" of Steve so he never bothered her again. According to the victim, she felt like Mike was her protector.
The Victim also described 'doggy time' contests while being interviewed by officers. The Victim would take videos of herself on her hands and knees with her dog on top of her trying to hump her. The Victim participated in these contests because she was scared she would lose Mike as her protector if she didn't.
It is common practice for child predators to engage in grooming techniques with their victims. Often making the victims believe the child predators are protecting them.
Although the Victim never met Mike in person, she knew what he looked like because they had video chats through Snapchat. The Victim described Mike as having a big build with a wide Mohawk haircut.
Police officers searched the number that the Victim was texting through Facebook. Officers were able to locate images of a white male with a stocky build which matched the description of Mike. The Austin Police Database was also searched and a male matching the description was identified as Michael Paul Heath.
After further investigation, a search warrant for Heath's apartment and truck were obtained. During the course of the search warrant, two cell phones were seized from Heath. During the investigation, Heath admitted to using several made up personas to communicate with the Victim. He also admitted to knowing the Victim was under 18 and that he knew that before she started sending him any sexually explicit pictures or videos.
Michael Heath was charged with possession of child pornography, a third degree felony, and sexual performance by a child, a second degree felony. Heath is currently being held in the Travis County Jail.
Bond is set for $50,000.