Hopkins County Sheriff's deputies, assisted by Sulphur Springs police, arrested a 22-year-old man for online solicitation of a minor in a city park about midnight Saturday night.
Hopkins County Chief Investigator Lewis Tatum said the arrest followed several days of communication with the man.
“We arrested a subject by the name of Jacob Stephens,” Tatum said. “It was a deal where he believed he was picking up a female juvenile. When he showed up, there were three officers sitting there waiting on him.”
Tatum said Sgt. Corley Weatherford had been in contact with Stephens on a classified ad website.
“Sgt. Weatherford had been making contact with him over the Internet for several days and made arrangements to meet up and that's exactly what he did,” Tatum said. “The subject believed he was picking up a 15-year-old female.”
Stephens posted $25,000 bond and was released from Hopkins County jail Monday.
Two deputies, Weatherford and Investigator Daniel Winn, have undergone special training to work these types of cases and have given the online contacts ample opportunity to not attempt to make the contact, Tatum said.
“You give them every chance to back out,” he said. “And, they just do not.”
Tatum said anyone can go online to any of a number of classified ad websites and see the same things the officers find.
“That's where it started from. We've worked several of them in Hopkins County and Winn and Weatherford are going to stay on top of this and continue to be diligent,” Tatum said. “With Sulphur Springs Police Department to help us, we will do whatever we can to protect our children.”
Tatum the deputies have worked several cases of this type and will continue to do so.
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