A man from Shelby County, Texas, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after allegedly arranging to sexually assault, kill, and cannibalize the daughter of someone he had met on a darkweb forum.
According to a criminal complaint, a member of the Homeland Security Investigations’ Child Exploitation Task Force in Florida discovered a post on a darkweb forum posted by an individual living in Texas who had expressed an interest in several crimes against a minor that stood out to the task force member. The poster had asked if anyone had an underage girl he could rape, murder, and then consume the girl’s remains. Towards the end of the forum post, according to the complaint, the poster had left two encrypted email addresses where anyone with access to a daughter could get in touch with him.
A special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety followed up on the report from the Child Exploitation Task force by sending an email to one of the email addresses found on the forum post. The undercover agent posed as a father interested in offering his daughter to the poster. The fictional father emailed the poster about his daughter and asked whether or not he could also participate in the gruesome crimes the forum poster had fantasized about committing. Shortly after sending an email, the agent found a response in his inbox consisting of the following line: “Nice! I’m in East Texas. How old is your daughter? Can we kill her?” The email contained graphic details of what the forum poster wanted to do to the girl before and after killing her.
For several days in October, the undercover special agent and the forum poster discussed their plans and the ways they could successfully rape, kill, and cannibalize the “daughter.” While the undercover agent was communicating with the man who wanted to eat an underage girl, other investigators searched the username associated with the email addresses the forum poster had listed on the forum post. Between October 14 and October 19, investigators had enough information to subpoena the logs and subscriber data connected to an email address owned by the person who had posted the cannibalistic request on a darkweb forum. After receiving subscriber data from the email provider, the investigators found the internet service provider used by the person the special agent had been emailing.
Investigators subpoenaed the internet service provider and learned that the IP address in question was associated with an account directly linked to Alexander N. Barter. Barter, a 21-year-old from Joaquin, Texas, had a massive digital footprint. A Google search of the man’s name provided nearly endless results related to Barter’s life in Texas and his enthusiasm for technology, Eminem, and Christianity. According to his Facebook account, Barter attended Joaquin High School and Panola College. Before working at a food processing company, he worked at Shelby County Outreach Ministries. So when enough evidence had been gathered over email to make an arrest, law enforcement in Texas had no shortage of information to assist in locating and identifying their target.
Towards the end of the conversation between the undercover special agent and Barter, Barter had taken the lead on planning the “special event” for the special agent’s daughter. He told the special agent to purchase a burner to use for any communication outside of email and to find a new outfit to wear after raping, murdering, and cannibalizing his daughter. Barter explained that the undercover agent would take his daughter on a “father-daughter hiking trip” and then Barter would meet the two and take the girl back to a hotel. In one of the emails, he told the undercover officer that he would bring a knife and a garbage bag.
On October 19, the day Barter had planned to leave his house and head to the kill site, federal agents strategically waited for him outside of his house. When Barter stepped outside, officers took him down. They found the knife and garbage bag and knew the connection both items had to the emails sent from Barter’s house. Even after being read his Miranda rights, Barter decided to talk to the police. He admitted writing the emails to the undercover special agent and confirmed that he had intended to sexually assault, murder, and eventually eat the daughter of the person he had talked to via email.
Authorities charged Barter with one count of criminal solicitation; criminal attempt, sexual performance of a minor; criminal attempt, capital murder; and conspiracy to commit capital murder. He is currently being held at Shelby County Jail where he will remain until transferred by a federal agency such as the United States Marshals Service.