A Meadville, Mo., man is in under arrest for allegedly attempting to entice a young girl online.
Ronald Nickell, 66, of Meadville, was arrested in Kirksville Wednesday afternoon following an undercover investigation by the Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit (KRCCU).
The KRCCU began an investigation into registered sex offenders in the area who had online social media profiles in June 2014. By law, sex offenders have to register all of their online social media websites/profiles with their local law enforcement.
During this time frame, the KRCCU identified Nickell as having an online profile that was not registered.
The KRCCU was able to establish contact with Nickell using an undercover persona of a 13-year-old girl. A conversation then ensued between Nickell and the undercover detective.
Nickell allegedly sent messages regarding a desire to engage in a sexual relationship with the 13-year-old girl, in addition to a request for nude photographs of her after they met.
Nickell then made arrangements to meet the girl in a Kirksville parking lot near a local park on Wednesday.
The KRCCU along with detectives from the Kirksville Police Department were on scene when Nickell arrived. He was placed under arrest. Nickell is charged with Attempted Enticement of a Child (actor 21 years of age or older and child less than 15 years of age). Bond was set at $150,000 cash-only.
Local authorities remind residents that no one is immune to incidents like this and with the continual evolution of the internet and social media, it is much easier for predators to contact children.
The Kirksville Police Department offers the following tips regarding your childâ??s safety on the internet:
- Know what your child is doing online and where they are doing it.
- Talk to your child about potential online dangers.
- Consider using filtering or monitoring software for your computer.
- Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about their filtering capabilities.
- Teach your child to never give out personal information online.
- Tell your child to never meet with anyone they meet online unless you are present.
- Keep the computer out of your child's bedroom and in a central location.
Residents are asked to report any online incidents to the local authorities, and if anyone believes that they may have information that would help investigators they can contact the Kirksville Police Department at (660)-785-6945, the anonymous tip line at (660)-627-BUST or via email.