After three and a half hours of questioning, minus a few breaks for cigarettes, Greenwell finally wound down.

The next day Subke and his partner from the FBI set out to find the boy in the framed photograph.


As he catalogued the contents of Greenwell's porn cache, Brian Mize considered how to identify the men in the photos. Part of the solution lay in the DVDs Greenwell had stashed in his safe.

On October 23, 2009, federal and state authorities arrested Jeffrey Greenwell just outside his home in Miramiguoa Park and detained him at the Franklin County Jail.
On October 23, 2009, federal and state authorities arrested Jeffrey Greenwell just outside his home in Miramiguoa Park and detained him at the Franklin County Jail.
The Miramiguoa Park home where Greenwell lived prior to his arrest.
Jon Gitchoff
The Miramiguoa Park home where Greenwell lived prior to his arrest.

Though Mize encountered pornographic examples of Greenwell's Scooby-Doo Productions handiwork, the DVDs in the safe contained no sexually explicit content but instead depicted scenes from trips Greenwell took with other men and small groups of boys. Destinations included nearby attractions Six Flags and Jellystone Park, as well as towns in Arkansas and Illinois. The footage was outwardly innocuous, though every now and then the banter betrayed the men's forbidden proclivities. Mize viewed the travelogues over and over again for four straight days, searching for clues.

Eventually he found one.

During a road trip to Arkansas, one of Greenwell's adult traveling companions pointed out various landmarks, leading Mize to conclude that the man must live in that state. After watching for hours, the cyber-sleuth heard Greenwell address the man by name: Evan.

Mize had Greenwell's cell phone, and when he checked it, he discovered a match — a man named Evan Batton, who turned out to be a youth pastor at a Baptist church near the town of Dardanelle, off Interstate 40 about 80 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Just as he had with Greenwell, Mize constructed a photo series for each boy he suspected was one of Batton's victims. He sanitized one photo for each series and sent the package to his colleagues in Arkansas. Batton was later arrested and convicted for raping a seven-year-old.

In the end Mize discovered two more names through video analysis and repeated his cataloguing process twice more, preparing a package for agents in another Midwestern state and one in New England. By the time investigators located the New England suspect, the man had committed suicide; the Midwestern suspect remains at large.

Meanwhile, in December 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its investigation had dismantled the Lost Boy network. Federal authorities in LA had indicted nineteen defendants on charges of running a child-exploitation enterprise. Two were charged with production of child pornography. (To date, fifteen have been convicted, including Harout Sarafian and Woodrow Tracy. One died in custody; three remain at large. Only one defendant has been sentenced; an FBI spokeswoman in LA declines to reveal whether Sarafian and Tracy were promised leniency in exchange for providing information, saying only that "it's fair, as a general statement, to say that cooperation is among multiple variables that factor into a sentence for a given defendant.") Fourteen Lost Boy members living in foreign countries were indicted in absentia.

All told, the authorities identified 200 victims.

"You can't overstate the significance of rescuing more than 200 kids worldwide, so it was obviously a good day," says the FBI's Michael Osborn, the special agent who supervises LA's SAFE task force. His team, Osborn says, watched long-term victims "basically growing up in front of our eyes" as they gathered photographic evidence.

The Lost Boy investigation produced twenty spinoff investigations. Officials in Los Angeles say the Greenwell and SpongeBob cases were the most significant among them. (To read more about the various investigations that spun off from the LA and St. Louis probes — including the case of SpongeBob, a.k.a. Antonio Cardenas — see accompanying sidebar.)

Mize concedes that repeated viewings of sexual molestation of children exact a psychological toll.

"You reach a certain level of desensitization," he explains, "but then inevitably I'll feel it physically when I come back to reality. You have to take breaks. We're all very dedicated, but sometimes too much dedication can be harmful."

His marathon sessions with the camping videos prompted protests on the home front. "My family said I was obsessed," he admits.

That said, he adds, "Nothing is as rewarding as knowing you're making a difference in protecting children."


The U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis charged Jeffrey Greenwell with five counts of producing child pornography. He entered a plea of not guilty and, having been denied bail, was sent to the Crawford County Jail to await his trial.

Employees at the Aerofil Technology manufacturing plant in Sullivan say they had no inkling of their former coworker's secret criminal obsession. He was always convivial, they say, quick to crack a joke or help out a colleague in a pinch.

"We were all shocked," says a coworker who declined to give his name. "He wasn't the brightest guy in the world. But he was dependable and outgoing. He wasn't quiet or shy."

Greenwell had no close friends outside of work, says Chuck Subke, the lead detective in the Franklin County Sheriff's Department. His social interactions were confined to the children he aimed to molest, their mothers and his fellow pedophiles. The detective adds that Greenwell elected to work the overnight shift specifically because it gave him access to children during the day.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
 
Loading...