Man arrested on 42 charges in child porn investigation

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Terrell Lee Burdette handcuffed by Walton County deputy (WSCO)

ARGYLE, Fla. (WDHN) — A Walton County man faces 42 felony charges after getting arrested in a nine-month-long child pornography investigation, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation began in November 2018 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children informed the sheriff’s office of child exploitation in Walton County multiple times.

After receiving the information, investigators with the Special Victims Unit identified Terrell Lee Burdette, 62, of Argyle as a suspect in the case.

Terrell Lee Burdette (Courtesy of Walton County Sheriff’s Office)

“During the investigation, a search warrant from a social media platform used by Burdette revealed numerous images depicting children engaged in sexual conduct,” the release states. An additional search warrant returned from Google Inc. regarding two separate email accounts used by Burdette contained multiple images depicting children engaged in sexual conduct.”

This past Sunday, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at Burdette’s home on Argyle Railroad Avenue. Upon searching Burdette’s cell phone, investigators found 20 images and videos of children performing sexual actions.

“In addition, 10 images/videos of children engaged in sexual conduct were found to be sent through text message and other applications to other subjects not yet identified,” the release states.

(Courtesy of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the sheriff’s office, Burdette’s alleged criminal activities extended to different states, as an investigation from another law enforcement agency later revealed.

Between May 1, 2019, and June 3, 2019, an undercover officer with the Rhode Island State Police operated a fake account on social media, getting contacted by Burdette at some point.

The officer told Burdette they were 13 years old, and when the conversation switched to text messages, Burdette allegedly sent photos of his genitalia to the officer, asking them “to engage in sexual activity.”

Burdette faces “20 counts of possession of child pornography, 10 counts of allowing distribution of child pornography through an electronic device, use of a computer to solicit a child, 10 counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor and use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.”

He was taken to the Walton County Jail after his arrest.

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