A man in St. Louis County was seen photographing children outside of a Kirkwood elementary school on Wednesday. The man, John Heinicke, 84, was arrested Thursday in connection to images found on his laptop. Police discovered over a dozen images of nude boys on Heinicke’s laptop, leading to him being charged with one count of child porn possession. This is a felony charge and carries serious jail time.
Heinicke was spotted taking photos of children outside of St. Peter Catholic School in Kirkwood, Missouri. A parent saw him and tipped off police to Heinicke’s license plate number. Police paid a visit to the man’s home, in the southern region of St. Louis County. While questioning him there, they noticed an image of a nude young boy in plain view on his laptop.
Police asked Heinicke if they could search his laptop, to which he acquiesced. There, police found numerous nude images of young boys, all of which are reported to have focused on genitalia. On the spot, Heinicke admitted to having downloaded the images. Police don’t seem to think Heinicke himself took the pictures.
According to police, when Heinicke was seen snapping pictures, he was nowhere near the children. He was using a zoom lens and was far enough away that he likely thought he wouldn’t arouse suspicion. However, an eagle-eye parent noticed the suspicious activity. “We are grateful to that parent for acting quickly and grateful to the Kirkwood Police for their quick work in this case,” said St. Louis Archdiocese spokesman Peter Frangie.
Heinicke was charged with one felony count of child porn possession. His bail is set to $10,000, cash only. According to the police, he does not have a lawyer. While he is facing ones one charge, it is a serious felony charge that could carry serious jail time. Given the open-and-shut nature of the case, it is unlikely Heinicke will be found innocent.
At his advanced age, it is unclear if he would outlive even the minimum sentence for such a charge if he is placed in prison. However, this could result in the judge sentencing Heinicke to house arrest in order to keep him away from children but not placing him into a general population at a corrections facility. A person convicted on charges of child pornography placed into a prison population is unlikely to have an easy time at any age, let alone the age of 84.