CRIME

Layton Amber Alert suspect charged with kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a minor

Jan 31, 2023, 4:38 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm

The booking photo for Aaron Michael Zeman, also known as Tadashi Kura Kojima. ( Hall County Departm...

The booking photo for Aaron Michael Zeman, also known as Tadashi Kura Kojima. ( Hall County Department of Corrections)

( Hall County Department of Corrections)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Arizona man who is suspected of kidnapping a Layton boy has been charged with multiple felonies Tuesday.

Aaron Michael Zeman, also known as Tadashi Kura Kojima, 26, was charged by the State of Utah with felony counts of child kidnapping, enticing a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, and dealing in harmful material to a minor by an adult, according to court documents.

On Nov. 29, Layton Police received a report that a man, later identified as Zeman, was inappropriately contacting a 13-year-old boy through the internet. Zeman used the username “Hunter Fox” during his interactions with the victim.

According to court documents, Zeman initially contacted the victim through the online game Robolox and then continued to contact him through other messaging apps, including Discord, Twitter, and Telegram. Zeman also sent “sexual text messages” to the victim.

The victim’s father discovered the messages and reported them to local law enforcement. Police interviewed the 13-year-old boy, who told them he had been talking to Zeman since October.

According to court documents, Zeman allegedly sent the victim explicit images and videos through Twitter and Telegram and asked the victim to do the same, which they did. These interactions happened at least eight times.

“During their discussions, (Zeman) asked (the victim) to date him. (The victim) agreed and sent his name, date of birth, and address to this individual,” according to court documents “(The victim) also disclosed that they had arranged to meet together in person.”

Experts warn about online gaming safety after Amber Alert teen found

In one of the conversations, Zeman told the victim he would be willing to go to jail to have a relationship with him.

On Dec. 26, the victim’s parents noticed their son was missing along with his passport, causing police to issue an Amber Alert.

According to court documents, local law enforcement found messages between the two on Twitter, with Zeman arranging to pick up the victim at his home.

Police found a Cashapp cashtag associated with the Hunter Fox Twitter account and learned that the account was tied to Zeman, going by Kojima. The Cashapp account was linked to a residential address in Arizona, leased by the suspect’s mother.

The suspect’s mother told police Zeman’s birth name and that he had recently purchased a white 1998 Toyota Avalon. She believed he left a week ago to go to Idaho. The mother also told police that he legally changed his name to “Tadashi Kura Kojima.”

Security footage from the victim’s neighbors showed a white vehicle matching Zeman’s Avalon in the area during the 13-year-old’s disappearance, according to court documents.

Two days later, the Grand Lisand Police Department found Zeman and the victim together in the Avalon at a gas station in Nebraska.

“Inside the vehicle, officers had located, among other things, passports for both (the suspect) and (victim) and written plans for changing both individuals’ names, including obtaining new birth certificates,” according to court documents.

Authorities are asking for Zeman to be held without bail due to his actions and plans to change their identities.

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Layton Amber Alert suspect charged with kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a minor