ANDERSON, Ind. – A man has been charged with child exploitation after investigators uncovered evidence of exchanges via his numerous Twitter accounts.
Court records indicated that 29-year-old Daniel James Hayes was charged with two counts of child exploitation with an aggravating factor and one count of possession of child pornography.
Prosecutors also filed for intent to seek habitual offender status in the case on Aug. 25.
The probable cause affidavit said the investigation began in May 2022 after the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children received a report from Twitter referencing four files uploaded to the social media platform Twitter classified as apparent “child pornography.”
After a search warrant was issued, police were supplied five different copies of what was classified as child porn evidence from the site.
Investigators were able to confirm the validity of the footage which falls under two Indiana laws: child exploitation and possession of child porn, both Level 5 Felonies.
Court documents detailed those police also received other evidence of child exploitation from Hayes’ Twitter account direct messages. The other images found weren’t related to the original cyber tipline report. There were other reports that previously also reported Hayes for similar activity.
Police were also able to subpoena Hayes’ Cash App showing that he’d received 20 dollars from an account with the username “d hayes.”
After confirming the phone number attached to the account, matching IP addresses from the Twitter account and analyzing Bureau of Motor Vehicle records, officers were able to track down Hayes and his current address.
Investigators said they served a search warrant on Aug. 12, 2022, of Hayes’ property and seized electronic devices in search of any more evidence of child pornography possession.
Officers said Hayes told them that he used several different Twitter accounts but could not recall all the names. Hayes added that several of his accounts were “shut down.”
The man openly told police that he was trying to “catfish” and “get people to send him money.” He also confirmed using the account reported by the NCMEC in their report but said he used the account “about a half year ago or so.”
Hayes said that he’d make social accounts and delete them within 12 hours. He also said he had easily possessed 25 to 50 images that fit the description of child pornography and that he’d sell the material on Twitter for amounts ranging from $20-$40.
Court documents specified that Hayes said he sold images or videos of kids under 16 years old about “10 times or so.”
Further review of the Twitter accounts showed direct messages between Hayes’ and customers of him distributing the images for money. Cash App information received confirmed the transactions.
The videos sent showed young girls with their clothes off and private areas uncovered.
Hayes was officially charged last Friday with two counts of child exploitation with aggravating factor found, Level 4 Felony and possession of child pornography, Level 5 Felony. This, along with the habitual offender status enhancement.
An initial hearing was held on Thursday at 1 p.m.