Detectives in Britain teamed up with U.S. federal officers and cops in Maine to quickly track down and arrest a woman who allegedly used a webcam to stream video of her sexually abusing her own young child.
The international dragnet resulted in the arrest of Julie Carr, 30, in Mars Hill, Maine, Friday. Carr, who, in her mug shot was wearing a shirt with the logo "Bad Angel" on the front and had tattoos on both of her arms, is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.
Carr was arrested after a tip went to police in Humberside County in England about a man who may have been involved with child pornography.
The West Midlands police department's Child Exploitation Investigation Team investigated and arrested an 18-year-old man identified only by the last name of Wilde, according to a spokeswoman for the West Midlands Police Department. He was charged with possessing and distributing abusive images of a child and police seized his computer.
According to a West Midlands police statement, investigators discovered during a search of Wilde's computer that a woman, later determined by U.S. authorities to be Carr, had used her webcam to broadcast live videos of her assault on her child.
The statement from West Midlands police said the child in the video was Carr's own and that she is the mother of four children, believed to range in age from 18 months to 5 years, who have since been placed into protective custody.
Cops on both continents declined to say how they tracked the video to Carr, but did say that the video lacked an IP address, which identifies an individual's computer.
British officials alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which relayed the information to Maine police.
Maine State Police Detective Sgt. John Cote told ABCNews.com today that it took less than five hours from the time the tip came in from ICE for state and federal authorities to arrest Carr.
Cote said Maine State Police received information from ICE that the woman, who appeared in "mulitple videos," was believed to operate out of Maine.
Child Sex Abuse Victims Becoming Younger
"We moved quickly on the case because it appears the most recent video appeared as recently as June 10," Cote said.
ICE spokeswoman Pat Reilly declined to talk specifically about the Carr case, but told ABCNews.com today that the U.S. is involved in these types of international child pornography busts "more and more."
"The most cooperation you will see in law enforcement is in cases like this," Reilly said.
When dealing with international crimes, Reilly said, agencies often look for the tiniest clues that give away the suspects, including accents or local dialects.
Reilly recalled an American man who was arrested after law enforcement figured out his identity using the design on the Brownie badge his victim was wearing in the video. He turned out to be a relative, she said.
Reilly sees an alarming trend in child abuse cases.
"The children are getting younger and that's because they [criminals] figured out they will never testify in court," she said.
Cote, citing the protection of any children involved in the abuse, declined to confirm or deny the information released by the West Midlands police, and a spokesman from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said he could not comment on if the agency's Office of Child and Family Services was investigating Carr or had removed any children from her house.
The judge who set the bail also set a condition that if she is bailed out that Carr may not come in contact with children under the age of 18 or use computer or Internet technology.
A spokesman for the Aroostook County jail told ABCNews.com that Carr was transferred to a segregated cell because the charges of gross sexual assault and exploitation of a minor caused problems for her with the other inmates.
"She didn't get along with the other girls," the spokesman said.
Carr has not yet entered a plea. Her attorney, Jeffrey Pickering, could not immediately be reached for comment. Calls made to the number listed for Carr's address went unanswered.
Carr is next due in court Sept. 18. She could face up to 30 years in prison for each felony count.