Snapchat attacks continue unabated

Anyone who has followed the Delphi murder case and is familiar with the Kegan Kline police interview transcript might understandably wonder what the hell is going on with these social media messaging apps.  According to media outlets, Snapchat and Kik were the preferred avenues for Kegan Kline to connect with underage victims and solicit illegal images.  Well, it turns out Kline is not the only predator who has had success utilizing these platforms to victimize children.  In fact, the modus operandi is so common in the State of Indiana alone, that one wonders if there isn’t a playbook these criminal deviants follow.

A June press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana offers up two such graduates of the Snapchat and Kik school of child exploitation and victimization.  The June 17, 2022 release titled Two Predators Sentenced to Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Four Children They met on Social Media Platforms reads in part:

“INDIANAPOLIS – Thomas James Israel, 46, of Ft. Wayne, and Max Schafer, 31, of Brownsburg, were each sentenced to federal prison for their role in exploiting four children between October 2019 and August 2020. One of the victims was exploited by both Israel and Schafer during separate incidents. Israel previously pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child sexual abuse material. On November 15, 2021, Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Israel to twenty-five years in federal prison. Late yesterday, Schafer pleaded guilty to receipt of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material. District Judge James R. Sweeney II sentenced Schafer to over fourteen years (175 months) in federal prison.

“According to court documents, between April 2020 and June 2020, Israel met his first minor victim, who was 14, using online applications such as Omegle and Meetme. Using Snapchat and Kik, Israel persuaded this victim to meet with him in person, then forced the victim into sadomasochistic sexual abuse, including forceful oral sex and assault. Israel recorded the sexual abuse on his mobile phone and later sent the video to the victim.

“Israel met a second minor victim using Snapchat and persuaded the victim to send him explicit videos and photos of herself. When this victim was between 14 and 16 years old, she sent her minor boyfriend sexually explicit images and videos of herself. Without her consent, the boyfriend disseminated the images and videos over the internet. Israel downloaded those images and videos onto his online storage account and viewed them for a sexual purpose. 

“Israel met his third minor victim, who was between 14 and 16 years’ old, over Omegle. Knowing that the victim suffered from mental health issues, Israel induced her to produce child sex abuse material, and to sell the images and videos to others online. Israel took a percentage of the fees and paid the victim by sending her gift cards from Victoria’s Secret.

“According to court documents, Schafer also met Israel’s first minor victim using Omegle. Knowing that the minor victim was only fourteen years old, Schafer met and engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the victim. Schafer also persuaded the victim to send him the video that Israel produced, depicting Israel’s violent sexual abuse of the child.

“Schafer also met his second minor victim, who was 16, using Omegle and Snapchat. Schafer persuaded this girl to send him sexually explicit images and videos of herself for his sexual purpose.

“Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis Field Office made the announcement.

“The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated the case. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also provided valuable assistance. As part of Israel’s sentence, Judge Pratt ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life following his release from prison and pay $16,000 in restitution to the victims. As part of Schafer’s sentence, Judge Sweeney ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 40 years following his release from prison and pay $6,000 in restitution to the victims. Both Israel and Schafer must also register as sex offenders wherever they live, work, or go to school, as required by law.”

Here again, we have yet another example of the social media apps Snapchat and Kik facilitating a connection between predators and their victims for the purpose of exploitation and abuse.  As we saw with Kegan Kline, who quite openly and brazenly attempted to victimize children using the online profile Emily Anne 45, often the profile ruse is dropped while the predator looks for a reaction to suggestions of sexual activity between the minor and a much older adult.  In one interaction, Kline solicits images and information on behalf of his middle-aged father, which eventually leads to a Skype call taking place.  How is it that these messaging apps, for all their sophistication, allow these clearly illegal conversations to slip by without any red flags going up?

The cases of Israel and Schafer provide a further glimpse into the despicable world these predators inhabit and may even indicate a level of coordination between them.  Israel is using the social media apps Snapchat and Kik to solicit sexual abuse material and arrange meetings to inflict violent abuse and produce CSAM.  He appears to possess an extensive knowledge of ways to choose the most vulnerable and inflict his sadistic abuse on them for pleasure and profit.  For his part, Schafer is abusing at least one of the same victims as Israel, and he’s aware of the video Israel produced with that victim.  

It is difficult to discern with certainty from the press release, but is it the case that these predators are communicating and coordinating with one another on some level?  Are they “sharing” victims?  Israel targets a teen who has already been victimized by her boyfriend.  Schafer targets one of Israel’s victims.  It certainly appears that, at least at some level, these predators are loosely associated.  It is more than just the case that they are swimming in the same waters, but that they are exchanging victims and probably even exchanging information on how to exploit the vulnerabilities of these victims.  Israel produced a video that was in demand.  He also coerced one of his victims to make videos to sell for his monetary benefit.  Obviously, there is a market for these videos.  We know these predators exchange videos, but are they also exchanging information with designs on inflicting abuse?  Could Kegan Kline, as seemingly “a member in good standing” in one of these pedophile circles, have passed on information to a member with extremely violent intentions, who turned around and used that knowledge to carry out his twisted fantasies on two innocent children of Delphi.  It appears increasingly likely.

Neighborhood man cool with kids walking across his lawn

It was one of those delightful summer Saturdays with cloudless blue skies, buckets of sunshine and comfortable warm temperatures.  Due to recent severe weather activity with accompanying high winds, many in the neighborhood were out gathering fallen branches and debris and stacking it out by the curb for the street department to pick up.  Traffic was scarce with the locals opting to walk or ride bikes.  Children played on the sidewalk and groups of aimless teenagers slunked around the neighborhood.  

As I worked in the yard, one such group of foot-draggers emerged from the alley next to my house.  Unused to performing ninety degree right turns, this cohort opted instead for a softer forty-five degree angle across my front lawn.  From my vantage point in the bushes where I was pulling weeds and gathering debris, I could have barked at them to “Get off my lawn!” and scared the living daylights out of them.  However, as tempting as that was, it’s just not my style and it just wasn’t one of those days.  

It was a day for taking it slow, for hearing laughter in the wind, for observing streaks of sunlight flickering through the trees, for unexpectedly intercepting the aroma of a distant backyard grill.  There is truly something surreal about days like these.  Time slows.  Space is deep-focused and static.  Noticeably absent is the relentless barrage of stimuli that mark most afternoons.  Even the temperamental teens had pocketed their phones and were just enjoying each other’s company.  It could have been 25 years ago.  It could have been 50 years ago.  Hell, if there weren’t a bunch of shiny metal boxes sitting in the street, it could have been over a hundred years ago.

However, somewhere beyond the tranquil scene lay an unseen realm.  If at that moment I could observe it, I’d probably notice unremitting algorithms passing over my head, demanding care and attention.  I would hear sniping voices, users getting ‘owned’ and people presuming the worst and often getting it from one another.  An illusory world casting a dark shadow over our psyches, while increasingly vomiting its madness into the real world.

Thankfully, I was far away from that chaotic place, and all I could think about was how remarkable and strange it is to be alive and standing beneath the sun and these trees in this perfect moment of stillness and peace, while a group of foot-dragging teenagers walked across my lawn.

A figure on a bridge

Recent revelations from the Kegan Kline interrogation transcript obtained by the Murder Sheet podcast provide a glimpse into the sinister world of internet child predators.  The lengthy police interview reveals how Kline, operating under the online profile anthony_shots, was able to connect with victims, obtain their trust and convince them to provide images, identities and private details of their lives.  There is even a bizarre portion of the interview where interrogators and Kline discuss a situation where he and another profile seem to be catfishing one another.  However, Kline admits to the police interrogator that he was aware at the time that he was probably interacting with someone more like himself rather than an underrage girl.    

For much of the interview, interrogators confront Kline with evidence that he was almost certainly not the only person with access to the anthony_shots profile.  Investigators zero in on Kegan Kline’s father, Tony Kline, as another individual who could have been logging into the account.  Their interest in Tony Kline could make him a potential suspect in the Delphi murders as well as in a disturbing peeping tom incident referenced in the transcript.  In both instances, the anthony_shots profile was in communication with the girls and had knowledge of their whereabouts prior to the incidents.             

The networking of catfishers along with the potential for multiple individuals to have access to a single profile illustrates how these online predators share their revolting plunder with one another.  It also begs the question, how widely disseminated were the images and interactions obtained by the anthony_shots profile?  Could others, besides the Klines, have obtained information on the victims prior to the incidents discussed in the interrogation?  What is the likelihood that a group could be sharing their twisted fantasies with one another, resulting in someone in their midst manifesting their vile yearnings in the real world?

Around the time investigators announced they were seeking information on the anthony_shots profile, in another part of the State of Indiana, a man named Trent Walker of Spencer County was revealed to have been the mastermind of an online group that preyed upon children.  According to a November 17, 2021 Department of Justice press release, Walker “was sentenced to 210 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting two young children and sharing the images and videos he created.”

The description of Walker’s crimes is beyond horrifying.  “Trent Walker, 36, began sexually abusing one of the victims when she was a toddler. The abuse continued over a six-year period and was sadistic in nature. During the sentencing hearing, Judge Richard L. Young, who presided, noted that Walker’s abuse of the child could fairly be described as torture. Walker also abused a six-year-old child for a several-month period. Both victims were in Walker’s care when he abused them.

“Walker created hundreds of images and videos of his sexual abuse of both victims, which he shared with an online group he ran. The group was dedicated to sadistically exploiting small children, some as young as infants. Walker served as the group’s moderator. He encouraged others to share sadistic abuse material, trained others how to conceal their identities online to avoid detection, and coached members of the group on how to abuse young children psychologically, physically, and sexually,” the press release states.

While Spencer County is hundreds of miles from Delphi, the case is instructive because it exposes not only the lone monster inhabiting a dark corner of an unsuspecting community, but also reveals with terrifying clarity how an individual bent on depravity and destruction is able to connect with, instruct and train a whole network of like-minded predators via the internet.  The online group to which Trent Walker served as moderator was “dedicated to sadistically exploiting small children.”  Walker “coached members of the group on how to abuse young children psychologically, physically, and sexually.”  The idea of a lone individual offender engaging in this type of behavior is chilling enough.  The reality that entire groups exist to promote and spread this evil is disturbing beyond comprehension.  

It’s been five years since the Delphi murders.  Five years ago a figure appeared on a bridge.  His blurred likeness was captured on video for all to see, and his words were recorded for the world to hear.  Yet no one, as far as we know, has been able to recognize and identify the individual.  Adding to the mystery, no one knows definitively how he got out on that bridge or how he fled the scene once he had completed his cruel handiwork.  He disappeared as mysteriously as he materialized, becoming a spirit in the wind, a demonic force evading capture.  Five years ago, on an abandoned railroad bridge 70 feet above a frigid creek, two innocent children of the Delphi community crossed paths with a figure from nowhere.  A sinister force partially molded in the depraved and disgusting hovels of the internet, emerging into the physical world to enact his sadistic nightmares.  No doubt he’ll be found lurking there in his dark sanctuary, concealed in some dread corner of the web.

Another layer of darkness descends over Delphi case

Anyone who has paid much attention to the Delphi case the last five years knows the darkness runs pretty deep in parts of rural Indiana.  Every now and then some act of unspeakable depravity is brought into the light, causing Delphi investigation onlookers to speculate whether the latest perpetrator could be the one who murdered 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German on February 13, 2017.       

In April of last year, James Brian Chadwell lured a young girl into his home in Lafayette, brutalized her and almost certainly would have killed her if not for the swift action of family and law enforcement to locate the girl and save her from the vicious assault.  Chadwell was sentenced to 90 years in prison for child molesting and attempted murder of the nine-year-old girl.

At the time, Chadwell seemed like a pretty solid suspect for the Delphi murders.  After all, how many child murderers could there be living within a 20 mile radius of Delphi?  Perhaps more than one, as it seems Chadwell is probably not responsible for the Delphi killings.

Then, last December, another potential child predator was revealed by Indiana State Police.  Investigators issued a press release seeking any information regarding the online profile anthony_shots.  Within hours it was discovered that this profile belonged to a man named Kegan Anthony Kline of Peru, Indiana, another town near Delphi.  

The news again ignited speculation that this individual might have some involvement with the Delphi homicides.  Kline was questioned by investigators in the weeks following the murders and admitted to collecting pornograpic images of underage girls using the anthony_shots profile.  Arrested in 2020, Kline is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial on multiple counts of child exploitation, possession of child pornography, child soliscitation and obstruction of justice. 

Last week, the true crime podcast, The Murder Sheet, made available the transcript of a 2020 police interrogation of Kegan Anthony Kline.  While illuminating previously unknown facts and circumstances surrounding the crime, revelations from the interrogation simultaneously cast another layer of dread and darkness over a case that was already quite dark to begin with.  

The Kline police interview reveals an individual obsessed with obtaining and disseminating sexually explicit images of underrage victims.  Under the guise of anthony_shots, an often shirtless young male with model good looks, Kline was able to insert himself into the lives of Liberty German and some of her peers.  In one instance, Kline as anthony_shots is exchanging messages with Liberty German while she is attending a slumber party.  Ensconced in the confines of his disgusting hovel, Kline is virtually in the room with these middle school girls who believe him to be a cute boy with a Lamborghini. 

In another instance, anthony_shots was in communication with a girl whose family was acquainted with the Kline family.  This girl made arrangements to meet up with anthony_shots at her house after school before her parents arrived home from work.  On the appointed day, when the girl arrived home from school, she discovered a man in a ski mask peering inside her bedroom window.       

In one of the most damning revelations of the interrogation, investigators discovered that anthony_shots was in communication with Liberty German on the morning of the murders.  Later, the profile communicated with Liberty’s friend, saying that he was supposed to meet Liberty the day of the murders.  

Throughout the interview, investigators make it clear that they believe Kegan Kline is not the only individual with access to the anthony_shots profile.  They confront Kline with a lot of evidence showing that his father, Tony Kline, may have been accessing the account as well.  In fact, whether it was just an interrogation technique or detectives really believe it, interviewers admit to Kegan Kline that they don’t think he killed the two girls and seem to be pressing him to give up his dad. 

Tony Kline, as we learn in subsequent Murder Sheet podcasts, is an unpredictable and extremely sadistic character capable of extreme violence at the most benign trigger.  His own step-children relate stories of Tony brutalizing the family over innocent transgressions.  It is easy to see why investigators seem to be focusing on him, and who knows what other evidence they have that may point to the elder Kline.         

Still, though, Tony Kline has not been arrested, and you have to wonder if there are others who may have had access to the anthony_shots social media account.  Investigators have said that the arrest of Kegan Kline has led to the largest child porography investigation in the state’s history.  There is mention by interviewers that Kline had a Dropbox account that may have been accessible by some of his other deviant acquaintances on the internet.  Could there be others in this twisted milieu who had access to the images and messages obtained by the anthony_shots profile?  No doubt, investigators are exploring all these angles, and hopefully there will soon be an arrest.

In the meantime, it just seems like social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat are perfectly fitted for those strangers your parents warned you never to talk to.  These apps readily connect the innocent, trusting and unsuspecting to wolves hiding behind an attractive smiling face and a cool car, who then can invade a private space like a sleepover or a family home in a way that never could have been previously imagined.  And once the wolf is let inside, the damage is only limited by its appetite for depravity.  

Trump releases nominations for shadow government cabinet positions

Despite losing access to POTUS and personal Twitter accounts, President Trump today released his proposed nominations to top positions in the shadow government to be convened on January 21.  Many will recognize the nominees as long-time Trump loyalists familiar with the inner-workings of Washington and the halls of Congress in particular.  Notably absent from the current list is Horned Hat Dude who is expected to be nominated as Trump’s pick for shadow VP later today in a separate press release.  

Efforts to convey this information to the media were hampered by the suspension of all White House social media accounts.  As a work around, the press release was faxed to over 200 news bureaus around the country.  Going forward, the shadow government press office intends to utilize fax, Western Union, and the shadow postal service enlisted last fall in a conspiracy to prevent mail-in ballots from finding their destination. 

The Trump shadow government may find it difficult, however, to fill all its positions by January 21 as many of the nominees are currently fugitives from justice.  The FBI is currently engaged in the slow and difficult process of identifying and apprehending these individuals.  Trump’s nominee for shadow government chief of staff is currently being hotly pursued by federal agents.  After the man conducted interviews with NewsMax TV and the Today Show, and held a news conference in the lobby of Trump International DC, federal authorities now feel they have a pretty good idea regarding the identity of the individual and may be closing in on him.  Horned Hat Dude also continues to elude authorities by maintaining a relentless media schedule, dashing from one interview to the next, and hiding out in his grandmother’s basement in between appearances. 

Local man currently starring in three hit viral videos

With the traditional summer blockbuster movie season canceled due to the pandemic, and Hollywood royalty wallowing in depression and loneliness caused by a deficit of public attention, viral videos are emerging from every corner of the internet to fill the void.

No one is working harder to fill this vacuum than Cameron James, who is currently starring in three of social media’s hottest viral video sensations.

He first captured the public’s attention on Facebook with his role as drunk guy trying to ride a bike.  Some passers-by filmed Cameron trying and failing to mount his bicycle after exiting a bar.

“I was so loaded I couldn’t tell up from down,” said James.  “Operating a bicycle required me to engage in a duel with physics that I was in no condition to undertake.  Time and again, I attempted to saddle up and ride only to fall flat on my face.”

Fortunately, a number of bar patrons were able to catch the entire debacle on video.  One social media user even managed to edit together a Matrix style montage of Cameron’s combat with the forces of gravity and bicycle engineering.

“The video quickly blew up on Facebook, and I soon discovered I was being mocked and ridiculed on almost every social media platform.  I gotta say, it felt pretty awesome.”

A few days later, Cameron was filmed berating the staff of a fast food restaurant in his neighborhood.

“They messed up my order pretty bad, so I started to chew out the cashier.  However, once the other patrons took out their phones and began shooting, I felt a rage flow from a place inside me I didn’t even know existed.  It really felt like I was channeling Pacino.  Anyway, after it was over, even the restaurant staff remarked that my irate customer portrayal was one of the best they’d ever seen.”

In addition to catching fire on the internet, several critics praised the intensity of Cameron’s performance, and he’s expected to be nominated for a Karen Award in the category of Best Unhinged Restaurant Patron.

Rounding out a week that saw Cameron James skyrocket to social media superstardom, the young man was publicly shamed and driven out of a supermarket for not wearing a mask.  Several shoppers took video of the incident as Cameron ditched his cart and fled the store in panic.  Shoppers heaped abuse on Cameron and hurled grocery items at him.  On Twitter, the whole scene invited comparisons to Cersei’s walk of atonement in Game of Thrones.

With three blockbuster viral videos in quick succession, fans are wondering if the young star can top an already impressive body of work that has brought him so much attention and fame, or will his star dim and James fade back into obscurity.

“To be the focus of so much negative media and public attention has really been a dream come true.  If I never make another hit viral video, I can live with that.  Who knows, maybe that’s my next role.  Down and out viral video star attempts a comeback, engaging in myriad forms of awful behavior in an attempt to get back in the public’s bad graces.”  

Authorities to perform welfare checks on America’s celebrities

Celebrities around the country have been having a pretty rough time of it lately.  Social media postings reveal desperate Hollywood stars, descended from their heavenly spheres, crying out to the world like they’ve fallen and they can’t get up.  

The sight of so many famous people struggling in their homes has prompted a number of local law enforcement agencies to perform welfare checks on the stars.  “We’ve been getting a lot of calls from folks worried about certain celebrities,” says Bob Stack, spokesperson for the LA County Sheriff’s Department. “People are concerned for the well-being of the most famous and well-off among us.”

Videos of frightened and vulnerable celebrities have been popping up all over the internet these days.  One distressing video shows a veteran pop music icon appearing alone in her bathtub, naked and afraid. Another viral video shows a group of A-Listers, some in tears, taking turns singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” 

“Well, what I think we are seeing from the Hollywood elite is a massive cry for help,” says Dr. Andrew McGill, a therapist in Beverly Hills.  “Some of these celebs are confined to their luxurious, sprawling mansions with only a personal assistant, a cook, a physical trainer and a diminished crew of support staff to look after them.  They are vulnerable and they need our help.” 

That’s where the LA Sheriffs step in.  “We’ll be knocking on doors and checking in on as many famous people as possible in the coming weeks,” says Stack.  “Also, we urge the public, if you’re aware of a celebrity in need of help, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’ll send a squad car over to check on them.  And thanks to the generous donations of some of the world’s most successful companies, we’ll be distributing swag bags containing over a hundred thousand dollars worth of goodies to help our celebrity friends muddle through these difficult times.”