Woman arrested on child pornography charges

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | 5:19 p.m. CDT; updated 4:18 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A Columbia woman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography following a four-month Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force investigation, said Detective Andy Anderson, coordinator of the task force.

Jennifer L. McCracken, 25, was charged with possession of child pornography and possession of a controlled substance, according to court documents.

The charges stem from a police search in December of her residence at 3403 Elm Grove Drive, Lot 45, according to a task force news release. Police seized a computer and a felony amount of marijuana at the time of the search.

Trenton J. Hudlow, 30, also a resident at the address, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

The task force began an investigation early November after allegations surfaced that child pornography was being uploaded on a computer in Columbia. Anderson said the task force was able to link the uploaded material to the suspect’s computer after it subpoenaed records from the suspect’s Internet service provider and isolated the computer’s Internet Protocol address.

An IP address, which Internet service providers give to every computer that connects to the Internet, is needed to send information over the Web, much like how a street address or P.O. box number is necessary when sending mail, Anderson said.

“Transactions over the Net can be traced by IP addresses,” Anderson said.

“Every time you connect,” he said, “you are given an IP address registered to your service. If there is a problem with your online activity, we trace the IP back to you.”

As for the delay between the computer’s seizure and the arrest, Anderson said examining a computer is a tedious process that doesn’t happen quickly. During the search, “we were able to determine that the computer was linked to the female,” Anderson said.

McCracken and Hudlow were released from custody after posting $9,000 and $4,500 bonds, respectively, according to the release.

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