When Brandon Keith Donato, 29, drove to Deltona, Florida, on Friday night, he expected to meet a 12-year-old girl he already abused twice, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Instead, he fell right in law enforcement’s trap.
Donato is now locked up in jail on a $350,000 bond. According to investigators, the girl said she knew the defendant as a 17-year-old boy.
“Deputies learned about the case Friday evening, after the victim’s family found out she’d shared videos on her phone showing her having sex with an unknown male subject,” authorities wrote.
Donato already met the child, in the words of authorities, “for sex” two times over the previous week, deputies said. The 12-year-old’s phone contained an ongoing series of sexually explicit messages and descriptions of what she and Donato had done, deputies claim.
License plate readers in Volusia County early morning on Monday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 12 caught his vehicle tag, the sheriff’s office claimed. These were dates that the girl said she met with him. Donato is from outside Volusia in the Brevard County city of Cocoa Beach, records show.
According to deputies, the girl told detectives the man’s name was Brandon Smith. The child said that he was a 17-year-old she met on the Wink mobile app and communicated with on Instagram.
Using his contact information and social media profiles, investigators determined Donato’s real name and age, authorities said.
The defendant allegedly wanted to meet her again.
Deputies launched a sting operation in which a detective pretended to be the girl and scheduled to meet Donato in Deltona, according to the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement was waiting for the 29-year-old defendant when he arrived.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood encouraged parents to keep a close eye on their children’s mobile device and app activity.
“Today, thanks to the quick work of everyone involved in this case, there’s one less predator out there exploiting the same apps our kids use,” he said. “Unfortunately there are many more waiting for their own opportunity. Everyone should take the time and make the effort to protect our kids from predators who want to steal their childhood.”
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