Lethbridge… Two people have been arrested following a complex ALERT Internet Child Exploitation investigation that has led to the rescue of a child in southern Alberta. The child’s mother is accused of sexual assault amongst other offences.
ICE arrested the child’s mother on November 2, 2023 after conducting a search warrant at a Lethbridge home. A number of police agencies helped during the investigation including Taber Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and Vauxhall RCMP.
The mother’s name is not being released in order to protect the identity of the victim.
The child has received help from a variety of specialized support services. Alberta Children’s Services is also involved.
ICE was led to the Lethbridge home after uncovering evidence of the alleged abuse from a case that took place earlier in the year in Barnwell, Alta. and resulted in the arrest of a 41-year-old man. ICE believes that the two suspects were in a previous relationship and sexually assaulted the child, in addition to sharing child sexual abuse materials.
The search of the Barnwell home took place on September 19, 2023, which was prompted after a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) who shared information about an Alberta suspect uploading child pornography via Facebook.
A forensic analysis of computers seized from the Barnwell home identified nearly half a million photos and videos of child sexual abuse materials. Amongst this vast collection, ICE identified a series of materials that they believed were unique and possibly created by the accused.
Further investigation into this series of child sexual abuse materials revealed that the materials were produced in Alberta and ICE was able to identify a suspect and child being abused.
The 34-year-old Lethbridge woman has been charged with:
She was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on December 19, 2023 in Lethbridge.
The 41-year-old Barnwell man has been charged with:
He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on January 16, 2024 in Taber.
Anyone with information about this case or any child exploitation situation is asked to contact their local police or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.