A parent’s instincts and exemplary coordination between Long Island and California investigators led to the capture of a serial sexual predator whose weapon was a cellphone, officials said.
Jayson Robert Brown’s latest arrest came after a mother in Garden City happened to overhear a voicemail being played by her 11-year-old daughter, authorities said.
“And she snatched the phone away from her,” Garden City Det. Kevin Madden said. “The daughter, thank God, didn’t hear much of it at all.”
Calling from California, Brown, 46, had left a graphic message on the 11-year-old’s cell, police said. The girl’s identity and that of her family were not revealed.
The voicemail the girl’s mother intercepted was not the only one — there were other explicit messages left, police said. In the messages, the caller warned the child not to tell her parents, Madden said.
The mother bought an app that sped the unblocking of the caller’s two telephone numbers, Madden said. On May 31, she reported the calls to the Garden City police.
“Doing a trace on the numbers, we were able to figure out whose phone it was,” Madden said. “Then I actually was able to ping the phone to get his location.” Brown was in Southern California’s San Bernardino County, Madden said.
Brown was arrested at a California hotel on June 8 and is being held without bail, authorities said. He told detectives he was calling random numbers — and the girl’s voicemail was “young sounding,” Madden said.
Sgt. Laura Marks of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, who worked with Deputy Sheriff Jacob Rollins and Madden on the case, credited them, saying: “Your detective was outstanding . . . and our deputy sheriff wasn’t going to let this go. He wanted to make sure no kids were being harmed.”
A representative of the public defender’s office, which is defending Brown, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
A transient with “a history of doing stuff like this,” Brown was already obliged as a registered sex offender to report to authorities every 30 days, Marks said.
Reached by telephone last week, Mona Wade, a Mobile, Alabama, police officer, instantly recalled Brown: She said she successfully pursued a similar case against him a decade ago. And the victim, 29 at the time, said that to this day she has not discarded the voicemail he left for her.
“You never forget about something like that,” the victim said last week in a telephone interview. “For a while I put it on the back burner, but I have two little ones, and I need to always have this on the front burner. There needs to be a reminder to be on guard.”
In the Garden City case, the trio of officers amassed the evidence needed to obtain a warrant and arrest the homeless sex offender on felony charges of making criminal threats, attempted child molestation and annoying or molesting a minor, authorities said.
“I’m hoping that the family feels some sort of relief,” Marks said. “I’m hoping the mom feels a little bit protected for her daughter.”