EAST ALABAMA, Ala. (WRBL) – We have new details surrounding an FBI Child Predator Alert impacting young girls in East Alabama. News 3 speaks exclusively with a local mother whose daughter is one of many known targets being stalked by the suspected predator through the mail.
Back in December, Jena Willingham’s daughter began receiving unsolicited travel brochures in the mail at their East Alabama home. Then came a disturbing package addressed to her young daughter. Inside there was a half eaten doughnut, church pamphlet, three dollars and a written letter from Artur Bhuck of New Mexico. The writer claimed to be a 14-year-old who had been bullied. The writer asked the young East Alabama girl to email him back and provided an address
“It’s terrifying. I won’t let her out of my sight now,” explained Jena Willingham.
Willingham reported the incident to investigators. Months later, she learned her daughter wasn’t alone.
“It freaked me out. This wasn’t isolated with just her, there were lots of girls he was doing this too,” explained Willingham.
This week, The FBI issued a Southeast Predator Alert via a Facebook post with The Covington County District Attorney. The post warned about unsolicited packages delivered to minor girls at elementary schools. According to the post, the FBI and the Alabama Fusion Center have reported some children living in the Southeast, including Alabama, have received unsolicited packages containing food, and a letter, signed, “Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, N.M.” as well as visitor’s packages from New Jersey.
In the letter, he asks girls to write him at either of the email addresses, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Agents traced the email address in the letters and learned more than 50 packages – tied to the account – were sent to minor girls using their names and the address of their elementary schools in New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama. The Facebook post also says the accounts were tied to websites where the user discusses girls’ underwear and types of music to listen to when visiting pen pals in Phenix City, Alabama.
“Other kids got them at school ours came to the house. We talked to our daughter about it. She came in crying, and we talked about it. Her dad told her we were not going to let anything happen to her and she is safe. We told her the police are going to take care of this, and she knows this is a bad man,” explained Willingham.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones is asking parents to be on guard.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes agreed, “This situation underscores what my office has been attempting to educate parents on the past few months. There are predators out there who are constantly looking for ways to contact our children, and there is no limit to the methods they will use. I can’t stress the importance of parents talking to their children and having a plan in place in the event they are contacted by someone they don’t know. If you even suspect someone has attempted to contact your children, please contact my office or the police, and we will investigate it,” he said.
While Willingham comforts and protects their daughter; agents are searching for the predator and urging parents to call law enforcement if you receive a similar package.