Child Exploitation Arrest

A Kemper County man facing sex-related charges involving a child is free from Lauderdale County's jail.

Lauderdale County authorities were first alerted about the alleged illegal activity earlier this week.

'Our criminal investigative division was notified by some parents about some disturbing messages on Facebook and texting,' says Sheriff Billy Sollie.

Sollie says the messages were all from 34-year-old Lance Jenkins of Scooba to an 11-year-old girl who lives in Lauderdale County.

'Investigators took over the role of responding as the 11-year-old child to this individual,' said Sollie.'Thursday afternoon the conversation escalated to the point that an arrest warrant was issued.'

With assistance from the suspect's employer, which is the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and Kemper County deputies, Lauderdale County officials were able to take Jenkins into custody without incident while he was at work.

'There was no physical contact between the adult male and the child. It was only through communication utilizing Facebook' Sollie said. 'So again, the child is not harmed in any way. We want to give a big shout out to the parents who got involved with their children, or their child, and brought forth the information.'

Sheriff Sollie says authorities were able to take Jenkins into custody before he discarded the phone he is thought to have used.

'In these type cases you usually have hard evidence because of the fact that you are able to print off the text conversation between the two parties and present that to court,' said the sheriff.

The case against Jenkins is expected to be presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury in October. He's facing charges related to the exploitation of a child utilizing the Internet. Bond for Jenkins was set at $50,000. He posted bond just hours after his arrest.

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