Virgil Lee McGuff, 25, of Jasper was taken into custody Monday and charged with possession of child pornography by Walker County Sheriff’s investigators, Sgt. Dayron Bridges and Sgt. Tim Thomas. He is currently being held in the Walker County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.
“This case came to us from Cullman County. Our suspect was sending nude photos of himself to a 13-year-old female and in return she sent one to him,” Bridges said. “The girls parents found out and notified the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.”
Bridges said he and Thomas started investigating immediately and were soon able to track McGuff down.
“We’ve worked this case for about four weeks now and were finally able to collect enough evidence to seize the suspect’s iPhone and computer via a search warrant,” Bridges said. “Other charges may also be filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because we also linked him to some child pornography in New York.”
Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey said the FBI will work the out-of-state angle on the case, and he commended Bridges and Thomas for doing such an outstanding job.
“We’re definitely seeing an upswing in our child pornography cases in general, and Dayron and Tim are really doing a great job working them,” Tirey said. “I’m glad they were able to collect enough evidence for probable cause for an arrest in this case.”
Tirey said cases of this nature are extremely tough to work because of all of the technology issues involved and law enforcement always fears something bad could happen, such as an abduction or even worse, before an offender can be taken into custody.
“I’m very pleased we were able to make an arrest in this case before something happened, other than passing some photos back and forth, and I’d also like to commend the parents of the 13-year-old for not only making us aware of this individual, but for also paying close attention to what their child was up to,” Tirey said. “I know being a parent can be a tough job sometimes, but when you think about what could have happened if they hadn’t called us ... well, I’m just glad they did.”
Bridges said he was glad to see the strong stance taken in Walker County against child pornography and sex abuse cases.
“We’re seeing an increase in the child pornography cases because of the digital age we live in today, more and more kids have cell phones and computers these days,” Bridges said. “The kids are swapping pictures with each other through the various chat rooms, but that same technology is also making it easier for the sexual predators to target them as well.”
Bridges said the sheriff’s office recently applied for a grant that will allow them to purchase some specialized equipment to aid in the fight against child pornography in Walker County.
Besides working on the open child pornography and sex offender cases, Bridges and Thomas also manage the 197 sex offenders currently living here.
“Sheriff Tirey goes above and beyond to ensure we have everything we need to not only prosecute the new cases, but also keep up with the registered offenders as well.”
Bridges will attend a special school later this month in south Alabama for law enforcement personal who work sex offender cases.
The school will not only serve as a refresher course to current sex offender laws, but it will also allow law enforcement to gain more insight into how sexual predators find and target their victims.