"It disgusts you as a cop, as a parent, as a human... Especially me being a father myself and a police officer at the same time. We really have to be vigilant... Social media platforms are great. They can be used for good or used for evil. This is an instance where it took a turn for the evil," Detective James Thorburn said.
"Obviously we can't watch things 24/7, that's reasonable and I understand that; however, every once in awhile - check-in. And see who they are talking to and where they might be going."
The investigation began on August 19 when parents called police to report that their 12-year-old daughter had run away and been unaccounted for since 11:30 that morning. The parents told investigators that they feared she had bet an older man through Snapchat.
Officers located the girl at about 5 pm that evening while responding to a request for a welfare check. The girl is reported to have told officers that she was on her way to meet her boyfriend as they had made plans to run away together. During the course of the conversation, the girl is said to have told officers that she was 12 and was having a sexual relationship with an older man.
She told detectives that she had initially believed he was 19 but that after meeting with him on several occasions, she believed he could be in his 40s.
The following day, police began to look into the girl's statements.
It didn't take them long to determine that 35-year-old Anthony Alvin Hodges had contacted her through Snapchat while she was still 11-years-old and had been speaking to her for a number of weeks.
"It's our belief and our understanding at this point that he found her due to the location sharing ability of Snapchat; that's how he was able to pinpoint her home," Thorburn said.
Hodges was arrested on September 2 and arraigned on September 17 with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct; one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct; two counts of HIV-unknowingly engaging in intercourse with intent to inflict uninformed partner; and one count of habitual offender, second notice.
He was ordered to be held in the Oakland County Jail without bail due to a parole violation. According to The Detroit News, he was sentenced to two years in prison in February for attempting to inflict a sexual partner with HIV in 2016, but was released on parole.
"We very well believe that there are other victims out there. He's had other allegations against him in the past and I would find it hard to believe there aren't other victims out there," Thorburn said.
The Allen Park Police Department can be reached at (313) 386-7800.