Texas Man Charged with Cyberstalking, Making Interstate Threats
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – An Odessa, Texas man, who had an online relationship with a juvenile female in the Western District of Virginia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville and charged with cyberstalking and making interstate threats to the girl’s family following her suicide. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, FBI Special Agent in Charge for the Richmond Division, made the announcement today following the defendant’s arrest in Texas.
Adrian Raul O’Dell, 19, was charged in a sealed indictment on October 15, 2019, and arrested this week in Texas. The grand jury has charged O’Dell with three counts of cyberstalking and two counts of making interstate threats.
“Cyberstalking and communicating threats through social media are serious federal crimes and prosecuting them is a priority of this office,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “I am grateful for the hard work of the FBI and the Warren County Sheriff’s office in identifying this defendant and bringing him to justice.”
“The FBI takes online threats very seriously, and will work with our law enforcement partners to ensure matters are addressed swiftly and appropriately,” SAC Archey said today. “This case is important to us because a young girl’s family, while still mourning her death, was re-victimized with the messages sent by the accused. We are grateful for the assistance of the FBI El Paso Division’s Midland Resident Agency and the United States Attorney’s Office during the course of this investigation.”
According to the indictment, between September 2017 and around March 2018, O’Dell had an online relationship with a 16-year girl who lived in Linden, Virginia. In May 2018, following an investigation by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, it was determined that O’Dell’s victim died by suicide in a wooded area near her home.
The indictment alleges that from June 2018 through June 2019, O’Dell, using a variety of false email and online personas, took credit for her suicide. The defendant then sent threatening and intimidating messages to her family members and friends that placed them in reasonable fear of death and serious bodily harm. In addition, these messages attempted to cause friends and family members substantial emotional distress. The defendant sent certain of these messages in violation of a protective order.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Warren County Sherriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Kate Rumsey is prosecuting the case for the United States.
A grand jury indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.