The Federal Bureau of Investigation has enlisted the help of the Top Ten Most Wanted List in their search for Eric Justin Toth, an elementary school teacher accused of possessing and producing child pornography. The 30-year-old Indiana native was recently added to the list, taking the place left by Osama Bin Laden’s death.
Toth was a third grade teacher at the National Cathedral’s Beauvoir school in Washington D.C, when another teacher discovered pornographic images of several students on a school camera that was alleged to be in Toth’s possession. School officials immediately escorted Toth off campus in 2008, but he quickly disappeared before officials could apprehend him.
“Once the images were found, he got out of here very quickly,” said FBI Spokesperson Jacqueline Maguire. “He almost immediately got into his car and went west.”
Toth was later indicted in the District of Columbia for possessing child pornography and in the District of Maryland for producing child pornography. After Toth fled, investigators believe he drove to his family’s home in Northwest Indiana.
In August 2008, Investigators discovered Toth’s Honda parked in a long-term parking lot at Minneapolis St. Paul’s Airport. Inside his vehicle, police found more child pornography and an apparent suicide note, which they believe was a decoy meant to deter the FBI’s investigation.
When America’s Most Wanted ran an episode featuring Toth in 2009, several people confirmed that he had been staying at a shelter in Phoenix, Arizona. However, when investigators reached the shelter, Toth had already fled.
Toth is reportedly a computer expert. His crime falls under child exploitation and cyber-crime, a FBI priority that has become increasingly significant in recent years. Cyber-crime is technically any criminal violation that involves computers and/or a network. Toth has reportedly used the alias David Bussone, under which he often advertises as a male nanny or a tutor.
“There’s no on off switch that he’s just going to stop, having the desire he does with young children,” said Maguire. “Our concern is that he is seeking out those opportunities.”
After transferring from Cornell University, Toth graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Education and is alleged to be very intelligent. Investigators report that he is charismatic and easily gains the trust of unsuspecting parents, which makes him incredibly dangerous, although he has no previous criminal record.
Toth is the 495th person to be added to the list and the fourth to be charged with child exploitation. The two criteria for being added to the Top Ten Most Wanted List is that the individual is known to be a danger to the public and that the FBI feels the added publicity would help investigators apprehend the suspect, according to Maguire. 465 of the listed criminals have been located and apprehended, 153 of which were captured as a result of public cooperation.
“Looking over time, as society has changed, as our culture has changed, so has the FBI’s priorities and the type of work that we do. If you look at the list when we started there were bank robbers and murderers,” said Maguire. “And now we’re looking at cyber-crime.”