ELKINS, W.Va. – On Thursday, a teenager from Maryland was extradited to Randolph County to face charges of Using Obscene Matter with Intent to Seduce a Minor, Use of a Minor to Produce Obscene Matter, Distribution and Display to minor of Obscene Matter, and Use of Minors in Filming Sexually Explicit Conduct.
Beginning in February 2021, the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police started an investigation after allegations were made that an unknown subject was soliciting a local 9-year-old child for sexually explicit photographs and videos on Snapchat. The investigation revealed that the 9-year-old met this subject on Omegle, a website that allows you to chat with strangers, and later transitioned to Snapchat. The investigation led to the development of the suspect being identified as Brent Bittner, 18 of Cumberland, Maryland.
On May 19, a search warrant was conducted at the suspect’s residence by the Maryland State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and also attended by Homeland Security Investigations and the West Virginia State Police. A preliminary forensic review of the suspect’s electronic devices revealed multiple child pornography files, including images of the 9-year-old victim. During an interview with the suspect, Bittner admitted to using Omegle to meet the victim and to soliciting the victim on Snapchat to obtain sexually explicit photos and videos.
Additional charges are pending in West Virginia and Maryland as the investigation continues. The Randolph-Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center also assisted in the investigation.
Bittner is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $100,000 cash-only bail.
The West Virginia State Police would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of parents monitoring their childrens’ social media and other activity on smart phones and computers. Parents should educate children on the existence of internet predators prior to giving them access to a smart phone or computer.