Man Arrested for Enticing a Child with Text Messaging - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Kennett, MO

Man Arrested for Enticing a Child with Text Messaging

KENNETT, Mo. (KFVS12) -A 46-year-old Kennett man is in trouble with the law for trying to lure a young girl through text messaging.

Police say the 12-year-old victim told them it all began when she got a random text message from a stranger and she texted back.

Luckily the child's parents found out and helped police put the alleged offender behind bars.

"Devastating. Devastating. This is one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with in my life," the child's father said.

He doesn't want you to know who he is, or who his daughter is, but he does want you to know their story.

"I think all parents should be involved with their kid's cell phones and their computers.  There are such terrible people out there," he said.

"Bob" as he prefers to be called says the man texting his daughter turned out to be a co-worker, 46-year-old Eddie Smith.

"It made me sick to my stomach, and I couldn't sleep after I read some of the things on my daughter's cell phone," he said.

"Bob" quickly turned his daughter's cell phone over to investigators, and they played the part of the young girl.

"The guy told us repeatedly he wished to have sex with us.  We set up a meet, and basically he came to try and meet with us and have sex with us," said Detective Tim Trowbridge with the Kennett Police Department.

Officers arrested Smith and took away two cell phones he had with him.

They hope this case forces parents to worry about who their kids are texting, because many youngsters can be easily lured.

"We're getting a bunch of these claims where they are unidentified phone calls, obscene phone calls to girls.  It seems like these people are calling random numbers and they find a female they're harassing them," Trowbridge said.

Sitting in the park where he watched his daughter play as a child, reminds "Bob" of her innocence, and how close she came to losing it.

He doesn't plan on taking away her freedom, but to be safe he is taking away her cell phone.

"I don't believe she's going to have it for a while," he said.

Eddie Smith faces felony charges of enticing a child and attempted statutory rape.  Investigators say it's the first case of its kind in southeast Missouri involving a cell phone.  Eddie Smith is being held in the Dunklin County Jail on $35,000 bond.

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