St. George Dixie State student child pornography
Photo: Victor / CC BY 2.0

Last week, detectives from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office took at least two suspects into custody, one a resident of St.George and another a student at Dixie State University, after finding evidence of the suspects’ involvement with child pornography.

On Nov. 1, St. George resident Nathan Michael Hill was arrested on two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. This investigation involved pictures of a nude 1- to 2-year-old female depicted in sexual situations alongside a naked adult male subject. Detectives were able to recover an additional 20 images of child pornography along with pictures of young females in bathing suits which appear to have been covertly captured. Hill is being held on $25,000 cash only bail pending his appearance in the Fifth District Court.

On Nov. 2, detectives and ICAC Task Force members arrested Decius Christopher Duran. Duran is a student at Dixie State University who was residing in campus housing. A search warrant was executed on Duran’s phone, which revealed numerous images of pornographic material involving both male and female children. The images depicted sexual acts involving adults as well as acts between two children. During an interview, Duran admitted to being a registered sex offender resulting from a prior investigation in the state of Alabama. Duran is being held on $100,000 cash only bail pending his initial appearance in the Fifth District Court.

The arrests followed several search warrants executed in the Washington County area by Washington County detectives and investigators from the Utah Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Information regarding the suspects was reported to the ICAC Task Force team for initial analysis. The leads were then assigned to local detectives with the Sheriff’s Office for follow-up. During the investigation, several suspects were identified. Investigators from both agencies worked together to prioritize suspects where they believed a child may still be in imminent danger.

A total of nine tips were investigated by detectives with assistance from the ICAC Task Force. Two of the investigations resulted in arrest. In some cases, investigators took the opportunity to educate the families when the cases involved youth sending photos to other youth. The remaining investigations were concluded by filing criminal complaints with the prosecuting attorney or actual exoneration of the suspect.

At press time, there were no convictions.

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