A Texas mother helped catch an alleged pedophile by posing as her 9-year-old daughter.
“It was sickening,” the unidentified mother told WFAA. “My jaw dropped, and I started crying.”
Jonathan Ashley Butler, 36, was arrested on Feb. 12 after driving to meet who he thought was a 9-year-old girl for sex, The Dallas Morning News reports.
“He had already made arrangements that [was] where they were going to meet,” Lt. Barry Bowling of the Grapevine Police Department said on Feb. 15. “That’s when he was intercepted.”
Butler is married with children of his own. A child of his is reportedly a friend of the girl he tried to meet.
Communication between Butler and the girl was discovered when the 9-year-old left her cell phone in her mother’s car. The mother checked her daughter’s text messages and was taken aback when she saw a conversation between her daughter and Butler.
“The mother, doing what any good parent would do, occasionally runs through her [daughter's] phone and checks up on her, then noticed some strange messages,” Bowling said.
The mother began texting Butler herself, posing as her daughter. They texted back and forth for a while, then she propositioned Butler to see what his response would be.
“I say to him, ‘I want you to be my first.’ He said, ‘You know I could get in so much trouble, though,’” the mother told WFAA.
The woman said Butler agreed to have sex with the 9-year-old girl, and she immediately called Grapevine police.
Butler was arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. He is currently being held, awaiting transfer to Tarrant County Jail.
“People may think there are certain ages that children shouldn't have phones, and to each their own — I don't judge either way," the mother said. "In this case, this is what saved her life."