Affidavit: Child porn made at former day care

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 22-year-old man is accused of making child pornography in a formerly-licensed West Michigan child care, court documents show.

On Friday, a law enforcement source close to the investigation told 24 Hour News 8 22-year-old Travis Stiehl was arrested on a felony child pornography charge.

Steihl was arraigned Monday at the 63rd District Court. He told the judge that he had a full-time job in retail and graduated from the Lincoln College of Technology in Indiana.

The arrest was the result of a month-long joint investigation between the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children task force and Homeland Security Investigations.

Stiehl was identified during an ongoing international investigation into the child pornography industry.

The source tells 24 Hour News 8 that child pornography was found on a computer inside the Lowell-area home where Stiehl lives. A state licensed child care facility was being run in that home, but the license was revoked in December 2013.

In an affidavit of probable cause, authorities say Stiehl admitted to making three videos said two of those were made at the residence. The videos consisted of unclothed pre-teen boys. It is unknown if the victims were children who were being taken care of at the day care.

Documents from the Department of Human Services showed Travis Steihl’s mom Shelley was interviewed about the case the day after he admitted to viewing and possessing child porn. During that interview, she told investigators that she would not kick Travis out of the home because he had no where else to live and he helped around the house.

The next day, investigators took a look through their home and found two space heaters, which were prohibited under her child care license. Shelley told investigators that if she deactivated the space heaters, there would be no heat in the home.

Stiehl will appear in court for a hearing on May 9. In addition to the local charges, officials say federal charges will likely come down sometime next week.

Homeland Security Investigators are asking anyone with information about Stiehl to contact the Grand Rapids office at 616.235.3936 ext. 2215 or the MSP ICAC at 616.866.6675.

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