Search for missing girl continues

OKEECHOBEE — Person of interest in missing girl case arrested on child porn charge.

A former Okeechobee resident has been arrested by the FBI on child pornography charges and is a person of interest in the disappearance of a 9-year-old Fort Myers girl.

According to a release from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Jorge Manuel Guerrero-Torres was arrested Monday, June 6, by the Innocent Images Task Force of the Fort Myers FBI Field Office. Guerrero is being held without bond in the Lee County Jail.

Manuel Guerrero-Torres

Manuel Guerrero-Torres

Guerrero is also being questioned in connection with the May 29 disappearance of Diana Alvarez.

Although many local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are combing rural areas of Okeechobee and surrounding counties the child had not been found as of Tuesday afternoon, June 7.

Some of those agencies were searching a cane field Tuesday in Glades County, while other agencies were searching a western part of Osceola County that lies just across the Okeechobee County line.

A criminal complaint by LCSO Deputy Sergeant Jody Payne, who is assigned to the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, indicated Guerrero and his brother lived with the missing child and her parents at their Fort Myers residence for several months.

However, Guerrero and his brother had recently moved out of that home and were now living in Orlando.

In his complaint, Sgt. Payne documented how Guerrero left his Orlando home on the evening of May 28 and drove south to the Fort Myers area. He was reportedly in the area of the child’s home from midnight until 3 a.m. on May 29.

Diana was reported missing around 7:34 a.m.

After leaving Fort Myers, Guerrero drove toward Okeechobee then headed to Yee Haw Junction, stated the complaint. Records show he remained in Yee Haw Junction for several hours, stated Sgt. Payne.

Guerrero then returned to Okeechobee. After an unspecified amount of time, Guerrero left Okeechobee for Orlando.

“On or about June 3, 2016, after an extensive search spanning several different jurisdictions, Guerrero-Torres was located in Okeechobee. Guerrero-Torres was taken into custody as a result of his lack of lawful immigration status in the United States,” stated Sgt. Payne’s complaint.

The man was held in the Okeechobee County Jail, then taken to Lee County.

When Guerrero was taken into custody, continued Sgt. Payne, he no longer had his cell phone which had been instrumental in determining the man’s location.

The sergeant went on to state that the phone was then tracked to Daytona on June 3. A landscaper told law enforcement he had found the phone in a ditch in Orange County, and that a person named Jorge had called the phone and told the man he could keep it.

The Samsung phone was turned over to law enforcement and on June 5 a forensic examination was done on the phone. That exam turned up a number of ‘selfies’ of Guerrero as  well as “… multiple images of child pornography,” stated the complaint.

Sgt. Payne indicated in his complaint that the child and/or children on the phone have not yet been identified.

A local search at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) also found records where Guerrero was arrested April 10, 2013, in Okeechobee County.

Michele Bell, OCSO public information officer, said Guerrero was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, no valid driver’s license and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence.

It is not yet clear when Guerrero left Okeechobee and moved in with the little girl and her family in Fort Myers.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Diana Alvarez, you are asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000.

Or, to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000, call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestopers.org; or, by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) keyword: REWARD.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment