Rector Man Arrested in Jonesboro Juvenile Assault Case

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Eric Emery

A Rector man is among 14 people arrested and charged by the Jonesboro Police Department as part of an investigation surrounding the rape and "sexting," the sending and receiving of graphic photos and messages of a sexual nature, of a 12-year-old girl in Jonesboro. The investigation also included examinations into suspected computer child pornography.

Eric Emery, 19, of Rector, is one of nine men arrested and facing charges in the three month investigation. Emery is facing charges stemming from possession of computer child pornography. Also arrested in the investigation were; 19-year-old Brent Crow of Paragould on charges of rape; 19-year-old Mark Carranza on charges of rape and computer child porn; 27-year-old Matthew Gifford of Brookland, who was arrested in February on charges of rape; 19-year-old Lukus Oden of Paragould on charges of rape and computer child porn; 21-year-old Kenneth Thompson of Bradford on rape and computer child porn; 18-year-old Benjamin Vardel on rape and computer child porn; 19-year-old Kevin Dunhoo of Trumann on rape and computer child porn charges and 20-year-old Briar K. Carrick of Tuckerman on computer child porn. Emery, Gifford, Carranza, Crow, Oden, Dunhoo and Vardel were arrested April 9, with the others arrested in the days following. Additionally, the mother of the child has been arrested for permitting the abuse of a minor. Four juveniles have also been arrested in the case.

The investigation dates back to December, when began searching for the girl after she was reported to have run away from home. As information was gathered during the search, investigators found evidence which suggested the 12-year-old may have been involved in sexual activity with someone over the age of 16. Information gathered by the Craighead County Juvenile Office and the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division, including interviews with the girl, led investigators to believe she was possibly coerced into activity of a sexual nature with individuals up to the age of 27.

Warrants were issued for arrests in the case after forensic investigation of the girl's phone led to over 59,000 photo and text messages throughout the period of investigation.

In the initial bond hearings held April 10, Emery, Dunhoo, Crow, Oden and Thompson were issued bonds set at $4,000, due to their out-of-county residential status. Carranza and Vardel received $3,500 bonds.

Investigators believe there is a possibility for more arrests in the case.

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