Conway detectives are searching two Instagram accounts for evidence that could be linked to a child pornography case.
According to the affidavits requesting a Faulkner County judge's permission to search a cell phone and two Instagram accounts, detectives believe a registered sex offender has been sending messages to and requesting photos from a 16-year-old victim in Conway.
Online records show the girl's mother contacted the police department after learning her daughter "was communicating with an older male from South Carolina."
The older man in question, 27-year-old Robert "Robbie" Michael Shipman, is a registered sex offender living in York, South Carolina.
Local authorities believe Shipman could also be messaging other underage victims, according to court documents.
Last month, a Conway mother informed authorities she found explicit messages between Shipman and her 16-year-old daughter on her daughter's phone. The woman said the message thread was found on her daughter's Instagram account.
According to the search warrant affidavit, Shipman asked the Conway teen to send him explicit messages, photos and videos of herself. While many of these photos and videos show they have since been deleted, detectives believe they can access the evidence through the social networking giant's headquarters in California.
"It's possible the videos/photos sent in the messages could be recovered by Instagram," the affidavit reads in part. "It is also possible [the Conway teen] is not the only child Robert is communicating with, and getting the contents of his Instagram account could uncover more victims. A preservation request was sent to Facebook on April 18, 2018, requesting that the information contained in the above referenced Instagram account be kept and retained in anticipation of a search warrant. There was also a non-disclosure order sent the same day, as well as a subpoena."
After receiving a Faulkner County judge's OK, Conway detectives were able to more than 1,000 pages of data related to the Instagram accounts in question.
CPD spokesman Chris Harris said local authorities diligently work toward fighting crimes against children and investigate all matters involving the city's young residents.
"Children have very high rates of crime victimization," he said. "The Conway Police Department takes crimes against children very seriously. The majority of our officers are parents, so when one of our officers gets a call about a crime against a child, it really hits home."
Harris also said the camaraderie the department has with the Department of Human Services helps in fighting these crimes.
"Our department has a great working relationship with DHS Child Protective Services," he said. "We have quarterly meetings to discuss what's working or not working and what we can do better for the children."