LOS ANGELES - A San Fernando Valley woman accused of posing in 11-year-old photos depicting child pornography was expected to make an initial court appearance Monday afternoon. » POLICE NEWS
Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was arrested outside a North Hills apartment complex around 7:30 p.m. Thursday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents and Los Angeles Police Department officers, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
The arrest came less than 10 hours after federal authorities released photographs of an unidentified man and woman, known only as "Jane Doe" and "John Doe," being sought in connection with a child sexual exploitation case. Federal officials held a news conference Thursday asking for help identifying the suspects, who were believed to have taken the photos in the San Fernando Valley.
By 2 p.m., someone had called the ICE tip line, and more tips followed, leading authorities to Montemayor, officials said. She is charged in a federal criminal complaint with one count of production of child pornography and one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography, Kice said.
U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said the arrest "brings us one step closer to vindicating the victim and helping to regain some dignity for all victims of child exploitation crimes."
The charges involve a widely circulated series of child porn images believed to have been taken about 11 years ago in Encino and elsewhere in the region.
The man's face had been purposely obscured in images acquired and displayed by agents who said the investigation was continuing.
"We still want the public's help in identifying John Doe and the victim in the disturbing series of images that continue to be circulated on the Internet," Birotte said.
The pictures in the case show a male and female adult sexually molesting a girl who appears to be about 13. The identity of the girl has not been determined.
Montemayor's son, Paul Tucker, told KCAL (Channel 9) he met the alleged victim when he was living with his mother, but she was not a minor.
"She was 18 ... just looked real young, but over 18," Tucker told the station.
Tucker said his mother was working as a prostitute at the time the photos were taken, and Montemayor knew the alleged victim's mother.
"The story we had gotten from her was that her mother was prostituting her and that maybe my mom had gotten in a fight with her mother," Tucker told Channel 9. "... She said her mother had left her high and dry with a drug habit."
He said he did not know the man shown in the photos, but said he may have been a potential client.
Anyone with information or tips that can assist the investigation was urged to call 866-347-2423 or access http://www.ice.gov/tips.