18-year-old from Lyle charged with 15 felonies, 14 related to child pornography

Published 5:01 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

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A 18-year-old from Lyle has been arrested and charged with a total of 15 felony counts, 14 of which include charges related to child pornography.

William John Eklund is facing 11 counts of possessing pornographic works as a registered offender and three charges of disseminating pornographic work as a registered offender.

He has also been charged with one felony count of possessing ammunition as a person convicted of a crime of violence. 

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Eklund made his first appearance in Mower County District Court Thursday morning and is currently being held in Mower County Jail on $150,000 bail without conditions or $50,000 with conditions.

According to court documents, a Mower County Sheriff’s Office detective received notice from the Minnesota International Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on March 28, 2024 stating that two cybertips had been reported.

The tips indicated that Eklund, a registered predatory offender, had allegedly uploaded and/or disseminated suspected child sexual abuse material on Oct. 20 and 21, 2023. The tips, coming from Snapchat and Instagram, resulted in the location of several files that allegedly contained videos of child pornography.

Further investigation of information provided by Instagram revealed that three of the files had been disseminated to another Instagram subscriber, allegedly a 17-year-old in St. Ann, Missouri.

On May 3, 2024, the detective received the results of a Snapchat warrant with data confirming two additional files of suspected child sexual abuse material (CSAM), photographs of the defendent and multiple other files of CSAM that needed more investigation.

Data also indicated communications through Snapchat with other child sex offenders including one who has been charged in Steele County with multiple criminal sexual conduct charges. Among those charges is one for first degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 14.

Through a third cybertip, Eklund was also allegedly involved in online enticement of children for sex acts.

Court documents further state that a search warrant was carried out on May 7 of this year on the Lyle residence Eklund shares with three other people.

When questioned, Eklund allegedly stated that an older phone number attached to his registry was connected to a phone that broke and that he forgot to take it off his registry.

Eklund also allegedly told the detective that he looks at pornography on his phone, but said he was trying to stop because of his probation and that he wanted a “healthy mind.” However, he also told the detective that he was uncomfortable talking about the type of pornography he watched.

Court documents go on to say that the detective told Eklund that internet accounts connected to him had been uploading and sharing questionable pornography, to which Eklund allegedly responded by asking, “questionable as in like child pornography?”

He then claimed he wasn’t involved in child pornography that he was aware of, but that some of the connected accounts were getting hacked, though he did not explain what those issues were.

During the search, authorities seized several pieces of computer equipment including laptops, harddrives, and jump drives along with cameras with SD cards as well as 37 rounds of .22 ammunition. 

These items have been sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for forensic examination.

A review of his criminal history shows that Eklund has a past conviction of first degree penetration or contact with a person under 13 when he was a juvenile.

Eklund’s next court date is for an initial appearance on May 20.