Alex Trowell, 18, of Nampa, Idaho, appeared today in federal court in Boise on charges of enticing a 12-year-old New Mexico girl to engage in sexual activity and transporting the girl from New Mexico to Idaho to engage in sexual activity for which an individual can be criminally charged.
Trowell was arrested by Nampa Police Department officers last Thursday after the girl was rescued from his home. The federal complaint was filed Friday, April 22. According to the complaint, Trowell purchased an airplane ticket for the girl to travel from New Mexico to Boise on April 20, 2011. She called him from the Boise airport the afternoon of April 20. Trowell picked her up there and brought her to his home.
The complaint alleges that Trowell met the girl, then 11, in September 2010 when the two were playing the online game World of Warcraft. According to the complaint, the girl subsequently obtained a cell phone, and Trowell continued his communications with the girl by phone calls and texting. Trowell’s cell phone communications with the girl became sexual in nature. The complaint alleges that Trowell drove to New Mexico to meet the girl in December 2010, shortly after she turned 12. New Mexico police, having been alerted by the girl’s mother, called Trowell en route, and he returned to Idaho without meeting the girl. Later, the two began discussing having the girl fly to Idaho. The complaint alleges that the two did engage in sexual contact after the girl arrived.
The charges against Trowell are both felonies, which are punishable by not less than ten years in prison and up to life in prison.
“Law enforcement agencies in Idaho are committed to working together to identify, investigate and prosecute those who would sexually exploit children,” said Wendy J. Olson, United States Attorney for the District of Idaho. “This prosecution underscores that effort. When it comes to crimes that target society’s most vulnerable members, we will not let boundaries or agency affiliation interfere with the work that must be done.”
Nampa Police Chief Bill Augsburger praised his team’s efforts. “The Nampa Police Department developed the Child Abduction Response Team (CART) plan a few months ago for this very reason. When the Nampa Police Department received information on the severity of this case and the risk to the victim, we activated our CART team and within a very short time of that team activation, we had the child safely away from the suspect in this case. We consider this a big victory and reinforcement that teams such as CART are needed to help rescue and protect kids.”
“The Nampa Police Department deserves recognition for its exceptional efforts that resulted in the safe recovery of a child,” said FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Special Agent in Charge James S. McTighe. “The FBI is pleased to have assisted Nampa P.D. in this case. Any time an adult uses the Internet to engage a child in sexual acts, all available investigative resources will be utilized and the suspect prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The case was investigated by the Nampa Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A complaint is not evidence and is not proof of a crime; it is simply a means of bringing federal charges. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.