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Tony McLeod’s booking photo (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

SAN DIEGO – The Tampa man accused of kidnapping an Escondido teenager will be extradited to San Diego County, officials confirmed Wednesday.

According to the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, Tony McLeod, 36, signed extradition papers a few days after his court hearing in Tampa where he faced several charges including absentia with state charges of child abduction, meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, enticement of a minor, contact with a minor to commit a felony and enticing a minor to produce child pornography.

McLeod was in the custody of federal authorities and was taken from Florida, Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office said.

Investigators said McLeod sent the 14-year-old Escondido boy text messages with photographs and videos of himself. The family became aware of the alleged online relationship and notified the Escondido Police Department in late May.

In early June, the boy’s family reported that he failed to return home after school, EPD Lt. Neal Griffin told Fox5.

Investigators then determined that McLeod had traveled to California and allegedly “enticed the victim to leave Escondido with him,” Griffin said. Detectives alerted law enforcement in Tampa that McLeod and the boy were en route there on an airliner out of Los Angeles International Airport, the lieutenant said.

McLeod allegedly identified the boy to airline officials as “Justin McLeod,” apparently to give the impression that the teen was a relative.

SAN DIEGO – Newly released documents in the case against a Tampa man show the disturbing communication that led to the alleged kidnapping of an Escondido teen.

Tony McLeod is now facing a federal charge of enticement of a minor, along with the charges in Florida and California.

“He will be transported from the state of Florida here to San Diego to faces these charges in a San Diego courtroom,” said FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Monday and the search warrant from Hillsborough County, Florida are now providing insight into the weeks prior to the alleged kidnapping.

The communication between McLeod and the victim started through an online Playstation game, but eventually moved to text messages.

According to the search warrant, the victim’s aunt first discovered the text messages on the evening of May 26, when she observed “her nephew texting on his phone incessantly throughout the day.” The document said she checked his phone when he went to bed and “discovered he had been having an ongoing, sexually explicit relationship with an adult male.” That relationship had been going on “for more than one month.”

The documents show McLeod and the victim sent photographs and videos of their private parts.

The federal complaint details some of the text messages from McLeod. In one of them he wrote, “I’ve just made u vidos but u won’t.” It also describes the photographs McLeod was sending to the teen, including “a photograph of himself, naked, in his bathroom.”

“There are some references there to some very disturbing pictures and videos,” said Foxworth. “What that does for us as investigators and for the prosecutors in this case, it helps to establish motive and intent on why the individual did what he did.”

According to the document, McLeod also wrote that he “loves” the victim. At one point he wrote, “I don’t like you being there” and that he wants to get the victim “out of there soon.”

The documents also provide more insight into the kidnapping itself. Fox 5 has learned the victim “did not go to his last two classes, putting his disappearance sometime between noon and 1400 hours” on June 10.

Fox 5 has also learned on May 26 the victim’s aunt contacted McLeod and told him “not to contact” the victim any longer.

According to the search warrant, Tampa police seized an iPhone and black Samsung from McLeod’s vehicle, which was parked at the Tampa airport.

Foxworth said investigators are still working to determine when McLeod will be transported to San Diego. He is scheduled for a court hearing in Tampa on June 20.

Tony-McLeodSAN DIEGO — An East Coast man who allegedly abducted a 14-year-old Escondido boy for sexual purposes last week will face federal prosecution in San Diego, officials announced Monday.

Tony McLeod, 36, was arrested in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday after he and the alleged victim arrived there on a flight from Southern California. The suspect remains in custody in that city as authorities decide where the case will be tried.

On Thursday, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office charged McLeod in absentia with state charges of child abduction, meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, enticement of a minor, contact with a minor to commit a felony and enticing a minor to produce child pornography.

The defendant also will face a federal count of enticement of a minor, according to the FBI. It was not immediately clear if all the allegations against McLeod would be merged into a single criminal case.

According to prosecutors, McLeod first contacted the teen last month via an Internet game, then exchanged texts with him and sent him photographs and a video of himself. The alleged nature of the online relationship prompted the youth’s parents to notify the Escondido Police Department in late May.

Last Monday, the boy’s family reported that he had failed to come home from school, EPD Lt. Neal Griffin said.

Investigators then determined that McLeod had traveled to California and allegedly “enticed the victim to leave Escondido with him,” Griffin said. Detectives alerted law enforcement in Tampa that McLeod and the boy were en route there on an airliner out of Los Angeles International Airport, the lieutenant said.

McLeod allegedly identified the boy to airline officials as “Justin McLeod,” apparently to give the impression that the teen was a relative.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The parents of a 14-year-old Escondido boy spoke Thursday about how alleged predator Tony McLeod targeted their son through an online game.

Escondido Police said McLeod initially contacted the teen through a Playstation game and their contact escalated to explicit text messages. The child’s parents said they found those text messages when doing a regular check of his phone.

“We feel we did what was possible,” said the victim’s father. “Taking immediate action and contacting the authorities upon finding out explicit details, texts and conversations.”

While that investigation was ongoing, the parents said they removed their son’s access to the internet and restricted his cell phone use. Despite precautions, investigators said McLeod was able to travel to Escondido Monday and take the child with him to Los Angeles International Airport.

“There is indication that there was planning involved and that they had communicated beforehand,” said Det. Damian Jackson. “That the meeting was going to take place at a specific location. Outside of that I don’t think it’s prudent at this point to give any more details as far as that communication.”

When the teen did not return home from school Monday, his parents contacted police.

“The second I got the phone call that he was gone,” said the victim’s mother. “I knew he was gone and I knew who had him.”

Police said McLeod had disconnected his old phone, but they were able to track his new one.

They said they discovered the two hmcleodad boarded a plane headed for Tampa, where McLeod resides. Investigators said the airplane manifesto listed a “Justin McLeod” with the same date of birth as the victim.

They are still trying to determine how the teen was able to board the plane under a false name.

“That’s something we want to look into much deeper,” said Det. Jackson. “As far as what transpired at the actual terminal for him to be able to board a plane with this person.”

Authorities in Tampa met the plane when it landed. Late Tuesday night, McLeod was booked into a Hillsborough County jail in Tampa.

He is already facing numerous charges in Florida and Thursday Escondido police announced charges of their own.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against McLeod, including child abduction, meeting with a minor to commit a sex offense, online enticement of a minor, contact with a minor to commit a felony and to entice a minor to produce child pornography.

McLeod is being held in Tampa on no bond.

Escondido investigators said they will begin putting their case together to decide where he will stand trial.

“To be frank, we have all the time in the world. He is not going anywhere. He’s in custody,” said Escondido police Lt. Neal Griffin. “If he gets out of custody in Florida, he’s going to be brought to California and $1 million bail will be hanging over his head.”

The victim’s parents said they hope McLeod gets life in prison.

“I want him to know that he really messed with the wrong family,” said the victim’s mother. “I was not gonna let this go. This was not gonna be a simple ‘do not contact my child.’ It was going to be handled through law enforcement.”

Police said this family did “everything right” by monitoring their child’s internet use and still fell victim to this crime.

Now, the parents want to warn other families about the dangers of child predators through online gaming systems.

“We didn’t hear anything inappropriate going through and we could hear him talking,” said the victim’s mother. “We could hear his side of the talking, but not the other side. I would not allow it. It’s too much and you don’t know who’s on there.”

Police are still trying to determine whether there are any other victims, but said there is no indication of that currently.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – A man accused of targeting a 14-year-old Escondido boy through an online Playstation game faced a judge in a Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom Wednesday on numerous felony charges.

Tony McLeod, 36, was charged with one count each of kidnapping, interfering with custody and traveling to meet a minor. He is also facing seven counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor.

McLeod was denied bond.

Invmcleodestigators said the McLeod and the teen exchanged explicit text messages, which the teen’s parents discovered.

Escondido police said the parents called the phone from which the texts and photos had been sent and told the man who answered to stop communicating with their son, but the man shut down that phone and got a new cell phone.

When the teen did not return home from school Monday, Escondido investigators said his parents contacted them.

They said they tracked McLeod’s new phone and discovered the two had boarded a plane headed for Tampa, where McLeod resides. Authorities in Tampa met the plane when it landed.

Late Tuesday night, McLeod was booked into a Hillsborough County jail in Tampa.

“As far as the Tampa Police Department is concerned, our charges have been placed on the suspect,” said Andrea Davis, Tampa police spokeswoman. “He’s in jail and he will have his day in court on the Florida charges.”

As of Tuesday night, Escondido police had not filed charges. Davis said if Tampa police hadn’t conducted their own investigation, they might have had no choice but to release him.

“Had we not started our own investigation very early on,” said Davis. “There’s a possibility that we would have had to let him go. But we believe he is a threat to our community and we weren’t going to let him go.”

By Wednesday afternoon Fox 5 asked Escondido Police Capt. Michael Loarie about the possibility that McLeod would have been released. Capt. Loarie said he did not believe that would have happened.

“Releasing him on a technically, if that is what has been inferred, we don’t take it that way,” said Capt. Loarie. “Tampa’s been working with us on this. We have a great deal of distance between us and this happened in a relatively short amount of time. But we do have time to get the proper charges filed. We just have to decide which jurisdiction it will be.”

Capt. Loarie said he does understand the frustration and said the Escondido Police Department is working diligently on the investigation.

“I think there should have been the frustration,” said Capt. Loarie. “We’ve had it before when we deal with other agencies. They could be as close as Los Angeles. That’s going to happen. We have different cultures in the police department between here and Tampa, I’m sure. But I don’t see that frustration as a hindrance or getting in the way, not at all.”

Capt. Loarie said federal authorities are working with both police departments to decide which agency will have jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Tampa police served a search warrant as McLeod’s home Tuesday. Davis said police are analyzing the evidence to determine if more charges will be filed.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A suspected Internet predator was arrested after he got off a plane in Florida with a missing boy from Escondido, police said Tuesday.

Tampa police and U.S. Marshals took Tony McLeod into criminal custody Monday evening after being notified by Escondido police that McLeod was on the flight from Los Angeles with the 14-year-old boy, Escondido police Lt. Neal Griffin said. Authorities took the boy into protective custody anTony-McLeodd he was expected to be returned to his family, Griffin said.

The boy’s parents called Escondido police Monday afternoon when he failed to return home from school, Griffin said. They were immediately concerned because they had recently found explicit texts and photos on their son’s phone and had reported the messages to police, Griffin said. Detectives established that the caller was located in the Tampa area.

The parents had called the phone from which the texts and photos had been sent and told the man who answered to stop communicating with their son, but the man shut down that phone and got a new cell phone, Griffin said.

When the boy was reported missing on Monday, Escondido detectives tracked the new phone and learned it was being used in the Long Beach area. They checked plane flights from the Los Angeles area and learned that a plane from Los Angeles was scheduled to land in Tampa Monday evening, Griffin said. They learned that McLeod was on the flight in the company of a juvenile male, so they contacted authorities in Tampa, who met the flight when it landed, Griffin said.

The boy told police that he first began communicating with McLeod in a Playstation chat room, Griffin said.

“It certainly is a classic case of online grooming by sexual predator,” said Griffin. “Predators use the internet as an opportunity to cast their net.”

“I think it should go as a warning that you cannot monitor your kids enough,” said Griffin. “When it comes to the Internet, when it comes to the cell phone, they literally have the world available to them.”

Anyone with information about this case has been asked to contact Escondido police Lt. Griffin at 760-839-4700 or San Diego FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

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