BRUNSWICK, OHIO (WJW) – An online nightmare nearly turned into a real-world horror story.
“This was not an online relationship this was cyberstalking,” said Lieutenant Robert Safran of Brunswick police.
Brunswick police arrested Timothy Nielsen, 43, after they said he traveled from Gresham, Oregon to Brunswick to find a 13-year-old girl he saw five years ago on YouTube. He is charged with menacing by stalking and importuning.
“She had a YouTube channel and arts and crafts channel and basically Mr. Nielsen began to follow the channel on YouTube and then began to make some really inappropriate comments,” said Lt. Safran. “The parents then shut the channel down.”
Since then, police reports show Nielsen became obsessed with the girl.
“That was in 2017 since that time Mr. Nielsen disguised himself as other persons basically tried to contact her on other social media platforms tried to contact friends of friends and this went on for a number of years until he was able to locate the area in which the female lived,” Lt. Safran said.
In July he was arrested after prowling the neighborhood, even asking neighbors for help finding the girl. Several neighbors called the police. Lt. Safran said after Nielsen’s arrest they found two makeshift campsites near a park by the neighborhood where he was arrested.
A Brunswick parent said the incident was disturbing, “It hits close to home anybody could have been with their kids playing I know there are softball fields there, stuff like that, so that’s really shocking.”
“Stranger danger doesn’t just apply to real-world and also applies to the online world you know be engaged know who your kids are talking to know who is trying to contact your children,” said Lt. Safran.
Police said the investigation remains underway. They are not aware of Nielson being on a sex offender registry.
Investigators remind parents to remain alert to save their children from disturbing close calls.
“This probably would have ended tragically had someone not called and notified us of a prowler in the area,” said Lt. Safran. “I can’t speak for his mindsets or what he intended to do but the fact he was so determined to travel from Oregon to Ohio and locate this girl. It speaks for itself.”