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Man Arrested In Child Sex Sting Found Dead

1-26-2007 Florida:
MIMIS, Fla. -- A Brevard County man shot and killed himself less than a week after he allegedly attempted to meet a 14-year-old boy in St. Lucie West for sex, sheriff's investigators said.

Ronald Gross, 60, of Mims, was found dead by detectives Thursday afternoon in his Mims house.

Gross, who had been communicating with a detective portraying himself as a teenager in an Internet chat room last week, was arrested in Port St. Lucie on Saturday and charged with lewd computer solicitation, attempted interference with child custody and attempted lewd or lascivious battery on a child.

In an instant message, Gross asked who he thought was a 14-year-old boy for explicit images after a meeting in an Internet chat room, detectives said.

Over the next several days, according to sheriff's detectives, Gross sent several messages and e-mails requesting to meet the "boy" for sexual favors.

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office officials said an investigation showed that Gross had a previous sexual encounter with at least one 17-year-old boy in Brevard County.

During a search of Gross' motor home, which detectives said he was driving to St. Lucie West, a digital camera, adult pornography videos and a laptop computer were discovered.

Detectives said they also seized a computer and related media from Gross' residence in Mims.

After reviewing the seized information, investigators said they believe there are other unreported victims in Brevard County.

"It's not unheard of for people that engage in this activity to engage in it with other adults, so the possibility would exist there could be other suspects out there that have victimized children," Lt. Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office said.

"It's a shame. What do you do? I mean, you live here. And we have to live with him, and you just don't know what they're doing," neighbor Michael Jones said.

Other neighbors told Local 6 News off camera that they often saw teenagers leaving Gross' house.

Anyone with information concerning this case is urged to contact the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. ..more.. by

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