Updated:ELMA, Washington —
An Elma mother said she was “very thankful” to be able to have a role in capturing a sex offender she said sent inappropriate messages to her son on Facebook.
Joel R. Alexander, 35, showed up at a men’s restroom Sunday to meet with the boy – or so he thought. The person turned out to be a detective with the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force.
Police said the boy’s mother alerted the Elma Police Department to a series of conversations Alexander had with her son on Facebook.
“The first thing I did was started crying, and I got sick, and then I called the cops,” the mother said.
KIRO 7 is not revealing her identity at her request.
State troopers posed as the boy on Facebook and traded graphic messages with Alexander, who then arranged to meet the boy for sex.
“I’m very grateful because he came 200 miles to meet with what he thought was my son … and ended up running into detectives, who detained him,” the mother said. “However, what if I’d never seen this message? Then all of my son’s innocence would’ve been lost for a lifetime.”
Alexander works on a sprint car pit crew that travels to races throughout the region. Police said he would groom kids interested in racing to be victims.
Officers said a second victim may be in Oregon, and perhaps elsewhere. Anyone who may have concerns about Alexander in relation to the case is asked to call the State Patrol.
Alexander, a Level 2 sex offender, is being held without bail in the Grays Harbor County Jail, and faces several charges.