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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Police close in on man suspected of buying sex from a minor

Police are a step closer to arresting a 43-year-old Nampa, Idaho resident they suspect of buying sex from a 16-year-old Spokane girl.

Police suspect him of being “active” in setting up “sex dates” with trafficked women in Spokane, according to court documents.

After undercover Spokane police set up a phony “sex date” with the girl, officer Elijah Hayward and FBI victim specialist Tamara Jell met the girl in the lobby of a Spokane hotel, according to court documents.

The girl told Hayward she was living with her older sister and not enrolled in or attending school. She said her sister’s baby needed diapers and “this was the only way she could think of to earn some money to buy diapers,” officer Elijah Hayward wrote in court documents.

Hayward wrote that the girl’s appearance “was inconsistent with an adult” and that it was “obvious” she was not 18.

The girl’s older sister told police she believed she was dropping her sister off for a birthday party with friends, according to court documents. She told police she’d dropped the girl off the day before to hang out with a friend, though the address was for a hotel.

The teen allowed Hayward to review her texts.

In text conversations between the suspect and the minor, the man said he enjoyed their previous date and would like to set up another, saying, “I helped you out” with more money on the first date than he wanted to pay for the next date, according to court documents

In another text conversation, he asked for nude photos. He asked for her ID and she replied that her mother didn’t allow her to get an ID, the documents say. She also texted that she was planning to take her mother to court to get her documents.

She said she had no way to verify her age and he asked her to “assure” him she was 18. She said she was. Texts indicated they met at a hotel that night, court documents say.

A Spokane judge signed off on the search of the man’s hotel room in Spokane for Wednesday night, including his electronic devices.

The man is not currently booked in Spokane County Jail or in his home county’s jail, Canyon County Jail. Spokane police suspect him of commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

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