Medical Complaint Delays Court Hearing for Woman in Decade-Old Child Pornography Case

A break in the 11-year-old child pornography case came when forensic analysis revealed items in the background of photos

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Monday, Jan 7, 2013  |  Updated 11:32 PM PDT
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Letha Mae Montemayor was arrested last week on charges of producing and distributing child porn. She did not appear in court Monday because she appeared to have suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital. Her daughter, Sue Tucker, says her mother would never have been involved in child pornography. Lolita Lopez reports from North Hills for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013.

Lolita Lopez

Letha Mae Montemayor was arrested last week on charges of producing and distributing child porn. She did not appear in court Monday because she appeared to have suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital. Her daughter, Sue Tucker, says her mother would never have been involved in child pornography. Lolita Lopez reports from North Hills for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013.

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Sleeping Cat Tattoo Might Help ID Child Molesters

A woman's tattoos, including a sleeping cat and butterfly, might help solve a child-sex abuse case that occurred 11 years ago in Los Angeles, according to investigators. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News at Noon.
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A woman accused in an 11-year-old child pornography case complained of a medical problem and her court hearing was postponed at least for at least a day, federal officials said.

Arraignment was scheduled for Monday in the case of a woman arrested last week in connection with child pornography images that provided investigators with clues to her location.

Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was taken into custody Thursday at a North Hills apartment complex.

Investigators said she is the woman, previously identified as "Jane Doe" in a criminal complaint filed last week, who appears in photographs that depict the molestation of a 13-year-old girl at what authorities determined was a San Fernando Valley location.

Authorities are still attempting to identify a male who appears in the photos. The victim also has not been identified.

Items in the background of the photos, such as a calendar from a store and a phonebook, helped investigators focus on Southern California after Chicago Homeland Security agents discovered the images as part of another investigation in 2007. At a news conference Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials released some of the images, including several that showed a woman with distinctive tattoos.

About 10 hours later, agents said they received tips from people who said they recognized the woman's face and tattoos.

"They were very confident that it was she," Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold said Friday. "We expected that it would be more difficult because they were older images, but we were optimistic because they were good images."

Montemayor is charged with one count of making child pornography. Her arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Call 866-347-2423 or visit this tips form to provide information. Click here to view the ICE wanted poster.

A second arrest stemming from the release of the images last week occurred Friday afternoon. Lance Robert Fries, 43, was taken into custody in Tucson, Ariz.

The news conference at which the images were released Thursday involved Operation Sunflower, a recently concluded child pornography investigation that led to the arrest of 245 people in the United States and abroad, according to ICE.

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