Enticement investigation leads to student suspect

Friday, April 6, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

A University of Central Missouri student turned himself in to the 13th Circuit Court on Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest on suspicion of trying to entice a person investigators said he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Matthew S. Michals is 21, according to a news release from the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force. The arrest is the result of a four-month investigation.

An undercover officer posed as a 13-year-old Columbia girl and conducted several chats with Michals, who claimed to be a home-schooled Columbia teenager, according to the release.

But to the investigators who chatted with him, the suspect seemed like an adult. “It wasn’t believable that he was a kid,” said detective Andy Anderson of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. “We decided to pursue the investigation.”

Boone County Sheriff’s Department detective Andy Anderson said Michals is a student at Central Missouri. A student information finder on the university’s Web site lists Michals’ address as Rolling Hills, Ill. The news release said Michals has an apartment in Warrensburg.

Michals is suspected of sending live Web cam images exposing himself twice in November 2006, according to the release. He is also suspected of sending pornographic images of an adult man on two other occasions, the release said.

Through Internet conversations, the release said, Michals tried to convince the undercover officer to meet him to engage in sexual activity. Investigators were then able to trace his location to Warrensburg, according to the release.

With the help of the University of Central Missouri Police Department, investigators discovered that Michals had conducted most of the conversations using the unsecured wireless Internet connection of another resident in the apartment building where he lived, according to the release.

Michals is charged with attempted enticement of a child and sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of 14, according to the release.

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