Internet chat room friend arrested

With assistance from agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, St Johns County Special Victims Unit detectives arrested a 25 year-old man who they say traveled twice from his home in the United Kingdom, under false pretenses, to engage in an illegal act.

The man, who initially identified himself to law enforcement officers as “Gary Johnson”, and stated that he was only 17 years-old, also did not tell the truth to deputies about how he came to be at the home of the 15 year-old Fruit Cove boy’s mother.

The local boy told his father that “Johnson” was just a friend; which made the father suspicious.

Officers interviewed the juvenile and his houseguest further at the Sheriff’s Northwest Field Office and determined that the pair was trying to mislead them; after it became clear that “Gary Johnson” was a fake name and they did not meet each other in school, as had been previously stated.

“Johnson” was, in reality, 25 year-old Michael D. Hunter who resides in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Hunter met his juvenile victim in an Internet chat room a year ago, according to the incident report. Investigators told Historic City News that they have determined that this is the second occasion that Hunter has traveled from England to meet the victim.

Hunter was transported and booked into the St Johns County Detention Facility where he remains in lieu of $10,000 bond.

St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar told Historic City News that this investigation proves that our world is growing smaller and that parents must be vigilant in monitoring the Internet activity of their minor children. “A story like this, involving criminal activity by a foreign citizen, could have ended horribly,” Shoar said. “Because the boy’s father was paying attention, and was not afraid to act on his suspicions, we were able to stop this situation from getting any worse.”

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