CARY, N.C. — Investigators from Canada and the United States said a 6-year-old girl was sexually abused, menaced with knives and confined to a dog cage. Authorities were able to track and arrest a suspect in Cary.
FBI officials arrested 41-year-old Brian Schellenberger for sexually exploiting children. He was taken into custody in December, but this week, police in Toronto released more details about how the case unfolded.
"Last December, we received a series of roughly 450 images of child pornography," said Inspector Bruce Smollett, of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit.
Authorities said the images all depicted the same 6-year-old girl being sexually abused.
"One of the images of the 6-year-old girl from North Carolina had showed her with writings on her body that said, 'Kill me, I'm a slut,'" Smollett said.
From the images, Toronto police were able to identify an amusement park wristband and the child's school uniform even though the logo had been blurred out. From there, they said the FBI in Raleigh handled the bulk of the case.
Melissa Caporale, who lives next door to Schellenberger's home, said no one knew why he was arrested until now.
"One day the police just showed up and arrested our neighbor and that was it," she said. "It's very disturbing. It's very upsetting."
Caporale said she remembers Schellenberger sitting outside working on his laptop. She said the windows on his garage were always covered. Shortly after the arrest, Caporale said Schellenberger's wife and three children moved out and put the house up for sale.
Police in Toronto, Canada say the FBI rescued the young girl.
Officials said the case apparently led to arrests in South Carolina and Texas. Schellenberger is scheduled for arraignment Monday morning. The FBI is expected to talk Monday afternoon.
Schellenberger was an employee at SAS in Cary, but was fired after the arrest.