RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a suspected child predator early Thursday morning in Raleigh after a tip from the public led to his identification.
William Akers, 46, is in federal custody facing child pornography charges following a public outreach campaign by HSI to identify a previously unknown man captured on video sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl. The plea for public assistance was disseminated by dozens of media outlets, reached more than 1.6 million people on Facebook and Twitter and generated more than 80 leads to the HSI tip line.
“I am grateful for the American public’s quick action in response to our appeal for help,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “Within hours of our request for assistance, more than a million people took notice and started spreading the word on social media and in the press. Because of this incredible support, we were able to identify and arrest a man accused of grossly violating an innocent child.”
U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker stated, “I am thankful that this suspect was so quickly apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents working under the Operation Predator international initiative after the incredible cooperation of the general public. My office will prosecute those who prey upon our children to the fullest extent of the law.”
Akers was identified by a member of the public who told investigators that he was employed in the Information Technology department of a Raleigh company. Within hours of the tip, HSI Raleigh special agents confirmed that Akers was indeed the John Doe who appeared in the video and arrested him at approximately 1 a.m. Thursday while he was working the night shift at his company.
The arrest was part of a joint investigation by HSI and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Raleigh Police Department.