Mon, Feb. 24

Alleged social media sex predation lands Cottonwood man in jail

Daniel C. Howell

Daniel C. Howell

COTTONWOOD – A 19-year-old Cottonwood man faces multiple felony charges following an investigation that he used his Facebook account to lure underage females for sex.

A news release from Cottonwood Police Department Professional Standards Sergeant Monica Kuhlt states Daniel C. Howell was indicted on charges of aggravated luring of a minor and sexual abuse. Both offenses are enhanced, Kuhlt explained, “by Dangerous Crimes Against Children and Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation, all felonies.”

Howell is currently in custody at the Yavapai County Detention Center, said Kuhlt.

Kuhlt said that in December 2017, Cottonwood police received a report from Howell that his Facebook account had been hacked after a 14-year-old female threatened to report him to the police after inappropriate online interaction between the two that he initiated.

“Shortly after that detectives learned of additional victims,” Kuhlt said. “Their investigation determined Howell was the alleged suspect but would report his account being hacked once he believed the underage female he contacted was going to report him to law enforcement.”

Cottonwood detectives, with assistance from Yavapai County detectives and the FBI, conducted the investigation and on July 23 arrested and booked Howell into the Yavapai County Detention Center.

Assistance from the FBI revealed at least one additional victim in another state that Cottonwood police detectives are currently investigating, Kuhlt said.

“There may be additional victims. The investigation is ongoing,” said Kuhlt.

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