Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 4, 2008

KPD arrest Peru man for child solicitation

Suspect accused of trying to meet 13-year-old for sex

Kokomo police arrested a 59-year-old Peru man Monday on a child solicitation charge after a seven-month investigation involving numerous contacts over the Internet.

Lt. Don Whitehead said he posed on numerous occasions between May 2007 and last month in a Yahoo! online chatroom as a 13-year-old girl, using the screen name “kokomogirl2012,” when he was contacted by another Internet user with the screen names “indianamalelookin” and an alternate, “benonio.”

Those contacts eventually culminated in the arrest of Benoni O. Ellis, after police said the Peru resident arrived at a pre-arranged meeting place in Kokomo to meet the child he thought he’d been contacting.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Howard Superior Court IV Friday, Ellis failed to show for pre-arranged meetings in November and January, but continued the contacts with Whitehead over the computer.

“In many of those conversations the defendant talked about having sex with ‘the child,’” police said. “Two dates were made for a meeting in Kokomo in which the defendant failed to show up and later stated he was afraid he would be arrested or get in trouble with the police.”

On the third meeting date Jan. 24, however, police waiting at a location in Kokomo — including a female officer dressed as Whitehead said the imaginary 13-year-old would be — noticed a pickup truck pass slowly through the parking lot three times.

After the third pass, the truck left the area, but police followed and a uniformed officer stopped the truck at U.S. 31 and Gano Street after the plate number was returned in Ellis’ name, police said.

“I asked Mr. Ellis if he knew why he was being stopped and he replied he believed it was because he had been talking to a young girl on the Internet and was supposed to meet her,” Whitehead wrote.

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