PLAINFIELD, Ind. – The man behind the “Brian Kil” threats that terrorized Plainfield residents several years ago now faces dozens of new charges.
Buster Hernandez, 28, is accused of threatening underage girls and forcing them to send sexually explicit material. He targeted hundreds of minors in the United States and one foreign county, including six teen girls from Indiana.
The sextortion started in 2012 and continued through August 2017. He contacted victims through various social media accounts, demanding they send him sexually explicit videos and photos and threatening to murder, rape, kidnap, and injure them if they didn’t comply. He also encouraged some of the victims to kill themselves.
Hernandez typically began extorting the victims when they were between the ages of 12 and 15.
Hernandez used the Tor network to mask his true IP addresses and location.
The threats at Plainfield High School occurred between late 2015 and early 2016, and it prompted the evacuation and the closure of Plainfield schools and businesses.
The U.S. Attorney`S Office has filed 40 charges against Hernandez. Prosecutors say he could face life in prison if convicted.
If you have been victimized or if you know someone who has been victimized, you can report it at the FBI website or call 317-595-4000, Option 2.
Below is a timeline of the investigation involving the Plainfield case.
Timeline of the investigation:
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Thursday, December 17
Friday, December 18
- FBI takes lead in investigation
- Threats made against The Shops at Perry Crossing and Carmike movie theater; mall is closed and theater is evacuated
Saturday, December 19
Sunday, December 20
- Another threat is made against The Shops at Perry Crossing, Carmike movie theater, and Walmart; businesses stay open
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Monday, January 4
Tuesday, January 5
Wednesday, January 6
Thursday, January 7
Monday, August 7, 2017
- Authorities announce charges filed in the case. A suspect, 26-year-old Buster Hernandez, is arrested
Investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force say they're being tipped to more and more online predators like Hernandez.
"In 2018 we received more cyber tips in Indiana than any previous year. And so far in the first quarter of 2019 we’ve received more cyber tips than any previous quarter," ICAC Commander Capt Chuck Cohen said.
Cohen says part of the issue with the rising number of cases is that they are seeing is a lot of children that have not been prepared for combating internet predators, or have not considered the fact that they might be extorted. Cohen added that a large part of the task force's strategy to combat the growing number of online predators is to help educate children on the dangers found online.
"For certain types of offenders, if they can convince a child to do one compromising act, then they can use that act to extort them to do more and more extreme things," Cohen said.
Cohen also added that like the "Brian Kil" case, investigators often find that online predators attempt to exploit multiple victims.
"We often find dozens or more of child victims, or attempted child victims," he said.
Doug Kouns, a former FBI agent and the president and CEO of investigation and intelligence firm Veracity, says only way people can help avoid becoming victims is by securing the digital "trail" and by having an open and honest conversation with children about the dangers of online predators looking to exploit them.
"There's just too much potential, there’s too many soft targets. Just make yourself as educated as possible, and be aware that the dangers exist," Kouns said.
Kouns added that there is no such thing as "complete online safety," but adds doing things like adopting stricter security settings and limiting the pictures and information you share online can help.
"Even if you have your privacy settings all locked down, you can look at a person's relatives or friends because they might not," he said.