Four arrested for inappropriate contact with children: why the FBI was in Parkersburg

WTAP News @ 10-FBI in PKB
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 10:05 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - You’ve probably heard rumors of the FBI being in the area last week. Well local law enforcement addressed the situation publicly Wednesday.

A disclaimer that all charges are alleged and suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

It was revealed at a press conference that four people were arrested for inappropriate contact with who they believed were minors. Those minors were actually undercover agents pretending to be kids.

Now all four suspects are being charged with soliciting a minor via a computer.

It was an FBI operation multiple local agencies helped with.

Within days, all four suspects were arrested at the spots where they were going to meet up with the minor.

Lieutenant Mike Stalnaker, a leader of Parkersburg Police’s investigative unit, said, “You had a weekend where it was pouring snow down, it was cold, the roads were horrible, and we still got four people who traveled…,”

One suspect - Jeffrey Ward Junior - traveled hours.

“He engaged in conversations of sexual nature also sending photographs of his genitalia to a person he believed to be a 14 year old,” Stalnaker said.

Ward is also already a convicted sex offender. And he wasn’t the only one who sent footage of his genitalia to who he thought was a minor.

So did Jamie Todd Holbert.

“He sent a video of his genitalia to the 15 year old along with a picture of his face,” Stalnaker said.

Elijah Gage Compton and Tristan Cumberledge were the other two arrested.

Stalnaker said, “Cumberledge further went onto make statements to the 14 year old as to wanting to have oral sex with the 14 year old and that he had basically been wanting to do this or meet up with an underage girl for quite some time.”

The arrests of these four men isn’t the end of this story. Officials say there will probably be more charges as well as warrants carried out.

Trooper J. Demeyer of West Virginia State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit said, “Through the United States this is very common. This is two nights - three nights. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in and kids need to be very careful on the internet. It’s not safe. Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing.”

Three of the suspects posted bond and one is being held at North Central Regional Jail.

Preliminary hearings will be next.

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