On Wednesday, October 4, 2023, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Detective Chase King arrested 47-year-old Richard Heaton (W/M, DOB: 02/02/1976) for 20 counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
Detective King was contacted by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) who alerted him that Heaton had responded to an undercover ad posted on a social media platform. During the discussion that followed his initial response, Heaton corresponded with a law enforcement officer who was pretending to be the father of a 13-year-old girl. Heaton offered to teach the presumed 13-year-old girl about a variety of sexual acts and said he would provide this service without charge, but that he would take photos and videos of her for his private collection.
Throughout the course of the investigation conducted by HSI, Heaton’s identity was established and a search warrant was drafted for his home, located at 4892 NE 32nd Street, Apt. 1, in Silver Springs. On October 4, law enforcement personnel from MCSO and HSI executed the search warrant and collected Heaton’s laptop and cell phone. Senior Digital Forensic Technician Jesse Newbanks conducted a forensic extraction of the devices and discovered a large collection of files that depicted child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
Heaton was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail. Due to the nature of these crimes and Heaton’s conversations with the undercover HSI agent, Detective King believes it is possible that he may have had similar contact with children before. MCSO is asking for anyone who has had this sort of contact with Heaton to contact Detective King at (352) 368-3586.