Detectives warn of social media dangers

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The Arkansas State Crime Lab expects to have results from an autopsy Tuesday on the body believed to be that of 16-year-old missing girl, Angela Allen, from Van Buren.

Police found the body of a female inside a barrel buried on the property of the family of convicted sex offender, 36-year-old Lloyd Jones. Detectives will only confirm the body found is female and the clothing fits the description of what Allen was wearing.

Allen was last seen leaving her house to meet Jones. Police say they met on a social media site and continued their relationship through text messages.

Detective Brian Williams with the Conway Police Department is a computer forensics examiner who spends his days online posing as a 14-year-old girl. Det. Williams tracks sexual predators who use social media to lure children. “It’s easy to go online and create a username and password for yahoo and then all of a sudden you have an email address. It’s easy to go online and download someone else’s Facebook pictures and create a new page and upload those pictures to it.”

That’s why it’s so important for parents to get involved and closely monitor everything their kids are doing online. Det. Williams says the best advice he can give to parents is to not let children have their own account. “As far as social media goes, I know it’s not socially accepted among children at school, but do not let them have one.”

If you do, Det. Williams says create secure privacy settings and keep your kids username and password. Also, educate them about online stranger danger. “When kids accept friends they don’t know and begin communicating with them, that’s when it can turn dangerous.”

Det. Williams says it’s not often sexual predators find children online and are able to gain access to exploit them sexually, but when it does happen, it’s extremely serious. “You have to learn what they’re learning. You have to stay one step ahead of your kids in technology and social media. If you don’t, and you’re falling behind, they may get into something that’s potentially deadly.”

Police say even though predators think they’re hiding behind a computer, detectives can easily track IP addresses leading them right to someone.

Investigators in the case of missing 16-year-old Angela Allen believe Jones was the last person to see her. He is a Level 3 sex offender previously convicted of rape.

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