Mom plays detective, tracks down convicted sex offender

Investigators said a mom helped them track down a man who is accused of inappropriately touching children at a pool. All it took was a mother’s intuition, a Facebook friend request and a little sleuthing.

Timothy Rice is a convicted sex offender and used pool toys to lure children into playing with him at the pool.

Rice’s warrant paperwork said the mother felt pressured into a friendship with Rice and his wife, who did not have kids of their own. She told police during dinner Rice would hug the kids too long and close his eyes while rubbing them on the back.

She observed the behavior more than once at the pool and other places. That did not sit well with her. She went to look him up on a sex offender database. The only problem was, she did not know his last name.

But, a friend request on Facebook by Rice’s wife gave her that information. While she was looking him up at the pool, she said he was standing over her, knowing exactly what she was doing.

Parents we spoke with said searching the database is something they do now.

“Anytime I’m about to move into a neighborhood that’s one of the first things I do is check the area, check the neighborhood, drive through during the day and at night, and go online and check if there are any registered sex offenders in the area,” said Monique Kret, who lives in Charlotte County. “Unfortunately, I think that is something parents have to do nowadays. The world’s getting crazier but the minute, so honestly, I’m all about doing whatever you have to do to protect your children.”

There is a way for parents to check for sex offenders without all that information. By doing a neighborhood search, a person can look for them without a last name.

Deputies believe Rice was actively prowling for more victims and may have had contact with other kids at community pools. If you have information, call the police.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Michael Mora
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