A multi-state investigation has led to the arrest of a couple on child exploitation charges and locating three child victims. The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office originally received information that Shawn Ryan Budovic, 27, of Cartersville was possibly in possession of child pornography. The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
A federal search warrant was executed on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by GBI, HSI, and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office at Budovic’s residence located on McKaskey Creek Road. Agents seized electronic devices that contained child pornography images which appeared to be “homemade.” Further investigation determined that Budovic’s fiancé, Kayla White, 17, of Trenton, Michigan had actually taken the images of three children, ages 3,4, and 9, and forwarded them to Budovic. HSI-Detroit and the Trenton Police Department responded immediately and located White and the three children.
Budovic was arrested and charged with computer pornography and child exploitation (felony) and was booked into the Bartow County Jail. Additional federal charges are expected.
White has been charged with child abuse in the first degree in Michigan. The Trenton Police Department (Michigan) continues the investigation into the images manufactured by White and the safety of the minor victims.
This investigation is part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the child pornography trade. The ICAC Program, created by the U. S. Department of Justice, was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.
Anyone with information about this case or any other cases of child exploitation should contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Unit at 404-270-8870.