A Starkville man who came to Columbus on Thursday to meet an 11-year-old girl for sexual purposes instead encountered police officers when he arrived.
Shykel Andres Spruell, 23, was arrested on the spot and charged with soliciting sex from a minor, accoring to a Columbus Police Department press release.
Police Chief Fred Shelton said the child’s mother contacted police after she discovered texts Spruell had sent her daughter.
“The child’s mother found improper texts and images sent by someone to her daughter,” Shelton said in a prepared statement. “She asked the daughter about the items and was told the man wanted to meet her in Columbus. We got involved, and our officers and detectives were at the location when he appeared to meet her. Instead, he met us and was promptly arrested.”
Shelton further praised the mother’s action, calling it “a perfect case of Mom being Mom to protect her child.”
Capt. Rick Jones, chief of CPD investigations, told The Dispatch police believe Spruell first contacted the victim through social media before obtaining her phone number.
Unfortunately, Shelton added in the press release, such incidents are “not uncommon.”
“Parents, guardians, relatives, friends, please take note of the social media contacts of minors,” Shelton said. “Plenty of people want to take advantage of them and cause harm. Protection starts with closely monitoring their social contacts on the phone and computers. It is not hard to do. There is software that will allow you to do so, but the simplest way is to check the phone or computer.”
Spruell is being held in Lowndes County Adult Detention Center. His bond is set at $30,000.