SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif./INDIANAPOLIS — An Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigation out of Sacramento County, California has identified more than 80 victims, including nearly a dozen in Indiana.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office released a video announcing the arrest of 24-year-old Demetrius Carl Davis.

Map depicting location of Davis’ suspected victims, Courtesy of Sacramento Sheriff YouTube

Davis is accused of creating several fake social media accounts and posing as a young girl named “Lizzy.” Police say he would befriend children online and groom them to make sexually explicit videos, sometimes with their own siblings.

Investigators uncovered numerous files of child pornography stored in Davis’ cellular telephones and accounts he used to contact children in more than 20 states.

“To date, over 80 child victims have been positively IDed in the U.S. The United States Department of Homeland Security is working with investigators and assisting in identification of more than 15 victims internationally,” said Sgt. Rod Grassmann with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

Eleven of those victims are from Indiana, specifically the Indianapolis, Kokomo, and Hobart areas.

Police believe there are more victims out there.

“While many victims have been identified thus far, it’s believed that Davis communicated with well over 100 children between late 2020 and December of 2021,” said Grassmann.

According to investigators, the children Davis targeted were typically between the ages of 6 and 13.

Police urge parents to check their children’s devices, especially if they believe their child communicated with a subject named “Lizzy.”

Investigators in California and cyber experts here in Indiana agree parents always need to monitor who their children are communicating with online.

“I think this is a teaching moment for parents and kids alike,” said with I-U cyber security risk management professor Scott Shackleford.

“We need parents to get actively involved in their kids’ activities,” said Cathie Bledsoe with ICAC.

Bledsoe, a youth educator with the Indiana Crimes Against Children task force, and Scott Shackelford say the case illustrates how young kids can be targeted by suspects from virtually anywhere.

In fact, the Sacramento sheriff’s department claims 15 victims were identified internationally in this case.

“These predators can come from anywhere. That’s why we have to be as mindful as possible,” said Shackleford.

Shackleford compares internet protections to layers of Swiss cheese. Every layer has holes, but more layers make it harder for cracks to be found.

He encourages checking parental control settings, disabling location settings and in-app purchases.

Bledsoe says parents need to teach kids that phones are the same as computers and the same safety rules apply.

“I want parents to teach kids how to block and how to use privacy settings,” said Bledsoe.