Thursday morning, Gig Harbor police took Elwood Anderson, 46, into custody. He is a husband and father of four, was active in his church and even coached a youth soccer team. He is also a computer software engineer who, according to the Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, used sophisticated methods to hide thousands of explicit images of children on his computer. That made the process leading to an arrest a little more difficult.
Charging documents show Anderson had more than 9,000 images of child porn on his computer and 238 videos. The children depicted were girls between four to nine years-old. According to a neighbor, Anderson had disclosed to him he had a long standing addiction to child pornography and had even sought counseling from the bishop of his church.
Anderson told detectives, “In a way I am glad I got caught — I’m glad it’s out there so I don’t have to hide it anymore.”
The investigation started in December 2012 and the I.C.A.C. (Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force) obtained a search warrant in July allowing them to seize computers and other items from Anderson’s home.
Jason Keays is with the High Tech Crime Unit and helped uncover some of the images.
“We learned that he was a computer programmer developer so we immediately started looking in different spots in the evidence,” Keays said. Keays works in digital forensics and was able to crack the code that Anderson created to hide his criminal activity.
“I was the one that uncovered the evidence, but it took all of us to go through this case. It was a little different in the way that he had his evidence, or contraband, stored and hidden,” he said.
“He was able to hide things and manipulate the evidence and believed, I think, that we weren’t going to locate it,” “Curtis,” an undercover agent, said. “I’m just happy that we got another guy like this off the streets.”
Anderson was booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He will be arraigned on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.