(WMC-TV) - Sexual predators continue to turn to smartphones and the Internet to target Mid-South children. DeSoto County investigators say they have nearly twice the amount of work this year.
New apps and programs that can be used to send inappropriate pictures and video are doubling the workload for forensic investigators in DeSoto County.
But officials have a toolbox to uncover pedophiles' dirty secrets
"We extract evidence from cell phones, computer hard drives, thumb drives," said Chief Deputy Macon Moore with the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department. "We've had cases that involve Kik, which is a chat room, Instagram, obviously text messaging."
A Southaven man was arrested for child exploitation earlier in August. He is accused of having child pornography on three discs. Also in August, a Hernando man was arrested for allegedly sending inappropriate pictures to a juvenile in New Jersey.
These arrests in North Mississippi have officers warning parents to look at apps and programs, not just messages and phone calls.
"Take your child's phone, go through it. Don't let them have a security code that you can't access their phone," said Moore.
Moore says many of the lab cases come from parents after they suspect their kids may be up to no good on their phone. With special programs and software, investigators can dig up pictures and video on computers and cell phones even if files have been deleted.
Investigators in DeSoto's lab work with the secret service to handle crimes from other areas in north Mississippi and the Memphis area.
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