Iowa man accused of exploiting GJ boy, 12

An online game took a disturbing turn last year when a local boy reported having explicit photos sent to him by an Iowa man who was booked Wednesday into the Mesa County Jail on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a child.

Nathan Dumond Hepker, 29, of Center Point, Iowa, is suspected of sending a local 12-year-old boy obscene photos and asking the young man to send back nude photos of himself, according to court documents released Thursday.

The exchanges began in November 2007, according to an affidavit, when he received a text message from “Nate” while the two were playing an online game on their cell phones.

“After text messaging with this person … ‘Nate’ sent photos of himself,” the affidavit said.

“(The) photographs sent by ‘Nate’ became more graphic as time progressed.”

During the exchange, the affidavit said, Hepker “pressured” the boy to send back nude photos of himself. The next day, the boy showed the photos of “Nate” to investigators from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, which started the investigation.

Following the local investigation, which included obtaining phone records pertaining to Hepker, Iowa law enforcement interviewed the suspect, according to the affidavit. During a taped interview, Hepker admitted he had sent text messages and photos to the boy, the affidavit said.

Based on that and the boy telling Hepker during their text-message exchanges that he was in junior high, Iowa law enforcement arrested him, the affidavit said.

Hepker was extradited Wednesday to Grand Junction and is being held in the Mesa County Jail on $75,000 bond.


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