Fremont police warn against vigilante justice with suspected child predators


FREMONT, Ohio (WJW)– The Fremont Police Department is encouraging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of social media. But the chief is also warning residents not to take the law into their own hands.

Fremont police said they are investigating three separate videos involving a person attempting to meet a juvenile for sexual relations.

In one case, a group of males confronted the suspect at Walmart. Police said the man, identified as 39-year-old Rafael Valdez-Loera, planned to meet a 14-year-old boy at the store after exchanging sexually-explicit messages. Officers later learned of the confrontation as video circulated on social media.

Valdez-Loera is now in the custody of Border Patrol on charges related to this case, as well as violating his work visa.

Fremont Police Chief Dean Bliss said parents should speak with their children and monitor their online activities. He emphasized that if you suspect something, call your local police.

“Area law enforcement does not condone citizens taking matters into their own hands or being vigilantes. We believe it can jeopardize the safety of those conducting these activities, people directly involved or that of an innocent bystander,” Bliss said in a news release on Thursday.

He said he wants to prosecute these people, but that means properly investigating the allegations.

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