Media Release from FBI:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation. Photographs and an informational poster depicting the unknown individual, known only as John Doe 42, are being disseminated to the public and can be found online at the FBI website at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/ecap
Initial video of the unidentified male, John Doe 42, shown with a child were first recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children in August of 2019. The EXIF data embedded within the video files indicated that the files were produced in October of 2015.
John Doe 42 is described as a White male with gray hair and wearing a red and black plaid shirt. He is heard speaking English in the video. Due to the age of the images, it is possible that the individual’s appearance may have changed over the years.
Anyone with information to provide should submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov/, or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). The public is reminded no charges have been filed in this case and the pictured individual is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This individual is being sought as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) initiatives, both of which represent strategic partnerships between the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Operation Rescue Me focuses on utilizing clues obtained through in-depth image analysis to identify the child victims depicted in child exploitation material, while ECAP seeks national and international media exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) who visibly display their faces and/or other distinguishing characteristics in association with child pornography images.
Operation Rescue Me
Operation Rescue Me represents a strategic partnership between the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Violent Crime Section, Child Exploitation Operational Unit and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Operation Rescue Me began in 2008, and is an aggressive program which focuses on utilizing image analysis to determine the identities of child victims depicted in child exploitation material.
How it works:
Image analysis methods used by Operation Rescue Me concentrate on items seen in the backgrounds of child pornography videos or images. Analysts attempt to answer four basic questions that will hopefully lead to the identification and rescue of child victims:
- What useful clues are there in the background? (What’s visible on the walls, are there distinct clothes or commercial labels visible?)
- Can a time frame for when the pictures were taken be determined?
- What is the physical location of the children in the photos? (Country, state, hotel room, etc.)
- Who are the children in the photos?
No clue is too small.
The FBI utilizes many clues to identify where a child may be held. The identification of items sold exclusively in certain areas, or at certain stores which can be seen in the background of various images has led to the successful rescue of numerous child victims. Additional techniques, such as isolating audio clips from videos to identify any names which can be heard, or even the dialect of language which is being spoken, have also led to the eventual rescue of abused children. Through the careful scrutiny of child pornography images, the FBI has been able to use clues as small as a glimpse of a vehicle’s color seen in a reflection of one of its mirrors to rescue children from dangerous child predators.
Since inception, Operation Rescue Me has led to the identification of over 500 child victims. The program continues to attempt to rescue those still in need.
Endangered Child Alert Program
The FBI began its Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) on February 21, 2004, as a new proactive approach to identifying unknown individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography.
How it works:
As a collaborative effort between the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ECAP seeks national and international exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) whose faces and/or distinguishing characteristics are visible in child pornography images. These faces and/or distinguishing marks (i.e. scars, moles, tattoos, etc.) are displayed on the Seeking Information section of the FBI website as well as in various other media outlets, in hopes that someone from the public is able to provide information that can identify them.
As a result of ECAP, the faces of many Jane/John Does have been broadcast on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the O’Reilly Factor. Of particular significance in these cases is the fact that for the first time, the Innocent Images program was able to obtain “John Doe” arrest warrants for several of its early John/Jane Does based solely on images acquired through undercover investigations.
Since the inception of ECAP, 42 John/Jane Does have been investigated, 29 of which have been successfully identified. These investigations have led to the identification of over 47 child victims. To help locate current suspects, see the Endangered Child Alert Program Most Wanted webpage.
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