On 07-02-2013, Humboldt County Sheriffs Detectives assisted by Cal Fire Law Enforcement Officers served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant and a Humboldt County Superior Court Arrest Warrant in the 6100 block of Purdue Drive, Eureka. The warrants were the result of a two month long internet investigation in which Michael Alan Brunner, 53 years old attempted to lure a 14 year old girl from out of state to have sexual relations with him.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Detectives were notified that Brunner had contacted a citizen whom he thought was a 14 year old girl, who was actually an adult, and attempted to have sexual relations with the citizen. During the contacts with the citizen, Detectives learned Brunner had hooked up a webcam and performed sexual acts on the camera, thinking a 14 year old girl was watching.
When Sheriff’s Detectives spoke with Brunner at his residence he admitted the offenses. Detectives arrested Brunner on an arrest warrant they had obtained for the felony crimes of sending harmful manner with the intent to seduce a minor and contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and a misdemeanor charge of distribution or exhibition of sexual materials to a minor. He was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the arrest warrant with a bail of $50,000.00.
Detectives searched Brunner’s home and seized various electronic devices which will be forensically examined for evidence.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Communicating With A Sexual Predator Online?
• Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.
• Review what is on your child’s computer. If you don’t know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.
• Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies that offer Caller ID also offer a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else’s Caller ID. Telephone companies also offer an additional service feature that rejects incoming calls that you block. This rejection feature prevents computer-sex offenders or anyone else from calling your home anonymously.
• Devices can be purchased that show telephone numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Additionally, the last number called from your home phone can be retrieved provided that the telephone is equipped with a redial feature. You will also need a telephone pager to complete this retrieval.
• This is done using a numeric-display pager and another phone that is on the same line as the first phone with the redial feature. Using the two phones and the pager, a call is placed from the second phone to the pager. When the paging terminal beeps for you to enter a telephone number, you press the redial button on the first (or suspect) phone. The last number called from that phone will then be displayed on the pager.
• Monitor your child’s access to all types of live electronic communications (i.e., chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc.), and monitor your child’s e-mail. Computer-sex offenders almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child on-line, they will continue to communicate electronically often via e-mail.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.