Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

January 5, 2013

Woman arrested in decade-old L.A. child porn case

LOS ANGELES — A woman suspected of making and appearing in child porn photos a decade ago that have circulated widely in the years since was arrested hours after authorities released images of her taken from those shots, federal officials announced Friday.

Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was taken into custody outside a San Fernando Valley apartment complex after authorities received several tips.

She is expected to make a federal court appearance Monday on charges of producing child pornography and conspiracy, officials said. Each charge carries a minimum 15-year prison sentence.

An unidentified man also seen in the photos was still being sought.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Montemayor had obtained a lawyer, and there was no public telephone listing for her. However, her son told a TV station that the allegations were false.

Montemayor was arrested fewer than 10 hours after federal authorities announced that they were looking for a man and woman who appeared to be molesting a girl who looked to be about 13 in photos that were widely circulated online.

Forensic experts believe the shots were taken about 11 years ago in the San Fernando Valley. A phone book and calendar were seen in the shots, officials said.

The images were first discovered by ICE agents in Chicago in 2007.

The woman in the photos had several distinctive tattoos, including a butterfly on her hip and a curled-up cat on her right shoulder.

“This arrest would not have happened without the public’s help, and it demonstrates how much individual citizens can do to help law enforcement attack crime,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The then-unknown adults in the photos were charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography and production of child pornography. The criminal complaint listed them as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe.”

The arrest “brings us one step closer to vindicating the victim and helping to regain some dignity for all victims of child exploitation crimes,” U.S. Attorney Andri Birotte said in the statement. “We still want the public’s help in identifying John Doe and the victim in the disturbing series of images that continue to be circulated on the Internet.”

Montemayor’s son Paul Tucker said his mother was looking for an attorney when she was arrested, and called the allegations against her “ridiculous.”

“My mom does not do anything of the sort like that,” Tucker told KABC-TV.

Tucker told the TV station he remembered the girl from when he and his mother were living in a hotel, and the girl said she was 18 at the time.

“That’s what she had said to us, that she was 18 but she just looked younger,” he said.

The images released by authorities did not show the girl.

The search was announced Thursday in connection with an international investigation of child pornography dubbed “Operation Sunflower” that resulted in more than 200 arrests.

Morton said 123 child victims were identified during the five-week investigation, which ended in early December. ICE and other authorities found 110 victims in 19 states. Others were living in six countries.

The victims ranged from less than 1 year to 17 years old. Morton said 44 of the victims were living with the people suspected of abusing them.

 

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Boston Marathon Bombi_Rich copy.jpg Questions linger year after Boston Marathon bombs

    A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP120401029 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2014. There are 260 days left in the year.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Station_Rich copy.jpg NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

    NASA is pressing ahead with Monday’s planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Shooting Kansas_Rich copy.jpg 3 dead after suburban Kansas City shooting

    A man opened fire outside a Jewish community center on Sunday, killing two people before driving over to a retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seven Dead Babies Arr_Rich(1) copy.jpg Utah woman arrested after 7 dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing several babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered seven tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.
    Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived in the Pleasant Grove home until three years ago, had the infants between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP110714053482 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 14, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 14, the 104th day of 2014. There are 261 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Range Showdow_Rich copy.jpg Feds release cows gathered in Nevada roundup

    Federal land managers confirmed Saturday that they released all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Ukraine_Rich copy.jpg Uniformed men occupy Donetsk police HQ

    Men in the uniforms of Ukraine’s now-defunct riot police on Saturday occupied police headquarters in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave of pro-Russia protests, hours after armed men seized local police headquarters and a local branch of the Security Service in a nearby city.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Australia Malaysia Pl_Rich copy.jpg Long hunt for missing jet looms as pings go silent

    After a week of optimism over four underwater signals believed to be coming from the missing Malaysian plane, the sea has gone quiet and Australia’s leader is warning that the massive search will likely be long.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP82016106626 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Today is Palm Sunday, April 13, the 103rd day of 2014. There are 262 days left in the year.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results