ISP officials find thousands of child porn images and videos on man’s devices

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Brandon Douglas Nelson, 24, Fortville

HANCOCK COUNTY – Officials with the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office have filed 25 child pornography charges against a man who was living in a Fortville apartment complex since August of 2022.

The arrest comes following more than a year-long investigation by officials from the Indiana State Police (ISP) who report they found thousands of images and videos of child exploitation and abuse including sexual abuse against infants.

Brandon Douglas Nelson, 24, 600 block of Bradley Drive, has been charged with 12 different Level 5 felony possession of child pornography with an aggravating factor charges as well as 13 different Level 6 felony counts of possession of child pornography charges.

All of the charges have different dates ranging from as far back as August, 2019 to September, 2022. Level 5 felonies carry up to six years in prison while Level 6 felonies carry up to two and a half years.

“We’ve charged this case in the most aggressive manner that we could,” Prosecutor Brent Eaton said. “There was a massive amount of material that had to be sorted through to get where we are and that took our deputy chief, Aimee Herring, a substantial amount of time — many months. She worked tirelessly with law enforcement on this one.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, On October 7, 2022, an Indiana State Police Detective received two tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that child pornography was being uploaded by a social media user. Officials noted in the report the images and videos include horrific acts by adults against children of all ages, including some as young as infants.

The investigation took officials to Madison County where officials first learned the subscriber of the email account was Nelson, who at that time appeared to be living in Fishers, but the address could not be confirmed, the affidavit said.

The detective with the ISP kept searching and through a further investigation found Nelson frequented Jefferson Place Apartments in Fortville, the affidavit said. Officials then learned Nelson had been living at the complex since August of 2022. Detective applied for a search warrant for all devices in the apartment with Hancock County officials.

On March 15, ISP detectives, along with ISP Cyber Crimes units, served that search warrant. According to the probable cause affidavit, Nelson was present at the apartment along with a woman who was not charged in the case. During an interview, the affidavit noted Nelson admitted to using certain hidden applications on his phone and stated he had viewed child pornography.

During the search of the apartment, detectives located a SD memory card in Nelson’s backpack. The memory card, the affidavit said, revealed several images of what appeared to be child pornography, officials said in the report. When asked if he had downloaded the images, Nelson stated “probably,” the affidavit said.

An investigative report on April 10, indicated child pornography was located on three of the devices seized from Nelson’s residence. Additionally, three devices were found to indicate pornographic images and videos were once on the devices but had been deleted and could not be recovered.

Officials noted there were more than 1,000 images of child pornography recovered from Nelson’s phone, as well as several hundred images of anime child pornography. Officials also noted there were thousands of images and videos of child sex abuse, including toddler material recovered from the devices.

Nelson was taken into custody and admitted into the Hancock County Jail by local officials 10:40 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8. He was slated to make an initial appearance in Hancock County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Judge Scott Sirk, who signed the original search warrant, ordered Nelson be held without bond pending the court appearance.

Sirk set a $5,000 cash bond and Thursday, Jan. 11 for a pretrial conference. Nelson was still listed as an inmate in the county jail as of print deadline Friday afternoon.