Monday, January 7, 2008

Girls in fugitive's photos found in foster home

Two girls, whose pictures were on the computer of an Oregon fugitive suspected of child pornography, have been located, Puyallup police said today.

Lorri Ericson, spokeswoman for the Puyallup Police Department, said that finding the two 5-year-old sisters has helped police figure out that some of the photographs were taken several years ago.

Ericson said the girls were pictured in ordinary snapshots. Police hope to learn whether these girls also were among the children who appear in pornographic photos, in which faces are obscured.

"We did not have a timeline on all of the photos. We knew they took place over a period of years," Ericson said.

Police said that Andrew Kowalczyk, 33, had child pornography in his possession when they arrested him Dec. 27 in an identity-theft case. They found multiple identifications and equipment to produce false IDs, including a camera and a computer, police said.

Pictures of the children were found among pornographic photos on the computer and camera that belonged to Kowalczyk, Ericson said.

He was charged with several counts of identity theft and forgery and is being held in Pierce County Jail, according to the police. He has not been charged with anything related to child abuse or pornography.

The Puyallup police received several tips over the weekend that helped find the two girls living in a foster home.

On Friday, forensics specialists found that some of the images on the camera and computer depicted "hard-core child pornography," said Ericson.

It is unclear how many children are pictured in the pornography, Ericson said, and investigators are unsure because the photographs span two years and it is difficult to tell whether they are the same or different children.

The department also released images on Saturday and Sunday of five women in Kowalczyk's files who police say were not involved in the pornography. Police had hoped these women can provide more information on Kowalczyk and the children.

Police have received calls that helped them identify several of the women, and one of them will be talking to the police.

Two women were still unidentified today.

Kowalczyk has been charged in Pierce County with three counts of identity theft, four counts of forgery, two counts of possession of fictitious identity and single counts of possession of a personal-identification device.

In 1995, he was charged with kidnapping and assault in Multnomah Circuit Court in Oregon and convicted of third-degree assault. He was sentenced to 36 months of probation.

Ericson said Sunday she did not know what Kowalczyk was wanted for in Oregon. People with information about the case should call 253-841-5421, she said.
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