Harford couple facing charges in Internet child pornography case

Girl, 11, listed in online ad, is sought by authorities

October 27, 1999|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

A Harford County couple has been charged with child pornography crimes after a six-month investigation that stretched from Florida to Maryland linked them to Internet child pornography, state police said yesterday.

Juli C. Wyatt, 28, and Robert J. Wyatt, 30, of the 200 block of Oak Leaf Circle in Abingdon face 12 charges each of creating, possessing and transmitting computer images of children engaged in obscene sexual acts, state police said. The pair also were charged with possession of child pornography and of a machine gun.

The case began in Florida in May when an unidentified person called up a Web site for alternative lifestyles, said Detective Sgt. Barry E. Leese of the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit.

"Somebody was offering themselves and an 11-year-old girl for sex," Leese said. The unidentified person contacted police, and the computer trail led to Harford County, Leese said.

Although the Internet photo offering the 11-year-old girl for sex identified her as the couple's daughter, Leese said, she is not the Wyatts' daughter -- and police do not know who or where the child is.

"We're trying to find the real child. We've come to the conclusion that there is no little girl in Maryland," Leese said.

Doctors and photographic experts analyzed the computer images of the child, he said, and believe she is a real child who is about 11. But no trace of her has turned up.

The investigation will remain open until she is found, Leese said.

"We would love to find her so she could get help," he said. "We just don't know who she is."

The Wyatts were taken to the central booking facility in Harford County yesterday. Each was released on $10,000 bail, police said.

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