Society

Investigators Tracking Down 'John Doe,' Child Porn's No. 1 Public Enemy

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Investigators are on the hunt for a man, known only as "John Doe," who is thought to have produced one of the most viewed series of child porn in history. The problem is, they only have one image of him and that image blocks out his face.

The Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Crimes Center have been searching for him for more than 10 years. They're based in Fairfax County, Va., but they seek predators from all over the country.

"You can't work this crime alone," Ian Quinn, head of Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center, said. "You need your international partners in order to even conduct these investigations."

They discover predators by going through chat rooms and debits where child pornography is often posted. They then use state-of-the-art technology to uncover tiny clues.

"We look for items, maybe it could be the plug on the wall that helps us identify that it's in North America," he said.

Their ability to track down predators has become better with time. In 2010, they arrested 912 child predators, in 2011 it increased to 1,335 and last year it reached 1,655.

"Once that image is taken of the child and the abuse that's occurring, it's on the Internet forever," Child Exploitation Investigation Unit Chief Patrick Redling said.

They have arrested one person who is thought to have been John Doe's accomplice. In January, they arrested Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, who was living in California. It was called "Operation Sunflower."

The hope is that they will be able to uncover some clues about John Doe through Montemayor.

She was indicted last month on federal charges of producing child pornography and child sex trafficking. She could be in jail for life if she is convicted.

Montemayor is thought to have appeared in child porn photographs produced a decade ago. In them, she molests a young girl. 

Authorities believe she was working with John Doe but was not married to him or in a relationship.

Sources: NBC Washington, Daily Mail