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Tracking 'John Doe': Investigators hunt child pornography's Public Enemy No. 1

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A suspect known only as "John Doe" is believed to have produced one of the most widely viewed series of child porn ever, but authorities have only one image of him.

"Once that image is taken of the child and the abuse that's occurring, it's on the Internet forever,” Child Exploitation Investigation Unit Chief Patrick Redling said.

Investigators with the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Crimes Center have been after the man for more than a decade. The group based in Fairfax County works with global law enforcement allies to capture child predators anywhere.

"You can't work this crime alone,” said Ian Quinn, head of the HIS Cyber Crimes Center. “You need your international pa


rtners in order to even conduct these investigations.”

Detectives navigate through chat rooms and websites where child pornography is traded and then use state-of-the-art technology to zero in on the smallest of clues.

“We look for items, maybe it could be the plug on the wall that helps us identify that it's in North America,” Redling said.

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In 2010, Homeland Security arrested 912 child predators. That increased to 1,335 in 2011 and 1,655 in 2012.

Among several hundred arrests this year was Letha Mae Montemayor, who was arrested in California in January as part of Operation Sunflower. Detectives say she’s John Doe's counterpart.

The arrest warrant for John Doe is out of California, but Investigators say he could be anywhere in the country or the world.

Anyone with information about this case should call 866-347-2423 or visit www.ICE.gov/tips. Tips may be reported anonymously.

Visit the Virtual Global Taskforce for more information about combating online child sexual abuse.