Charges mount For Hancock Co. man accused in child porn case - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Charges mount For Hancock Co. man accused in child porn case

Marcus Ryan Ladner (Photo source: Waveland Police Dept.) Marcus Ryan Ladner (Photo source: Waveland Police Dept.)
WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -

A child pornography investigation in Hancock County is broadening. Monday, authorities added two more felony charges against 21-year-old Marcus Ryan Ladner. He now faces a total of five counts of possession of child pornography and luring minors to email nude photos to him. And officials say more charges could be on the way.

"It seemed like he was looking for girls 11 to 14, 15. It's a very disturbing situation," said Waveland Police Chief David Allen.

Allen said Marcus Ryan Ladner became the focus of their investigation after a middle school student told a teacher about the pictures. The teacher called police.

"We took over her cell phone. So for about a three week period he was talking to one of us and not her," Allen said.

The investigators said they soon discovered that the man on the other end of the phone used different names and approaches to get photos from underage girls.

"The big one, he contacted numerous girls as Courtney Legion trying to get pictures from them, trying to offer pictures to them. He also used an alias as Ryan Huff on Facebook. Both of those accounts are no longer there," explained Allen.

At this point, police said there is no evidence Ladner ever met up with any of the girls. Police are now trying to figure out just how many young girls were targeted.

"At this point we're asking that parents talk to their kids and find out if they've had contact with these people. We've already had numerous parents come forward saying that their child had been contacted by Courtney Legion and Ryan Huff and asked for elicit pictures."

The chief said he hopes the conversation between parents and teens goes deeper, so children aren't afraid to speak up if something suspicious happens online and parent aren't afraid to be parents.

"We preach to parents all the time: It's your cell phone, you're paying for it. Pick that thing up look through it and see what your kids are doing. Check the apps, check the pictures, check the messages," said Allen.

Ladner is being held in the Hancock County Jail under a $700,000 bond. If convicted of possession of child pornography, he could face five to 40 years in prison for each count.

There's one more thing Waveland Police hope parents will do: Come to one of the upcoming cybercrime workshops the department offers. Details are on the Waveland Police Department's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Waveland-Police-Department/119074091457120

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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