CORNELIUS, NC (WBTV) - Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 17-year-old from Cornelius who used to attend to Hough High School, and is accused of extorting three female students for nude photos.
Tyler Jevon Woods is accused of three counts of extortion. Sources told WBTV that Woods has moved back to Michigan and was not at his Cornelius home when police went there to serve the warrants.
The case began in July when a Pennsylvania college student, who used to attend Hough High, said she received several nude photos of herself in an email. The victim said that the sender threatened to publish the photos unless she sent more nude pictures.
Authorities said they found other current Hough High students who also received similar emails. According to a warrant obtained in September, it appeared that a couple of the students complied with the threats in fear that the photos would be released.
The victims ranged in age from 14 to 18 years old, according to the warrant.
"My issue is the young girls are wrong. The young men are wrong. Why is my son the only one that is being bothered, being charged" Woods' mother said.
The mother, who doesn't want her name revealed, said after her son, Tyler Woods, was expelled from Hough High - she sent him back to Michigan to be with family and be home schooled.
She said she's trying to get him back to North Carolina because the arrest warrant was issued. Police said they are also working to have Woods extradited back to face his charges.
The mother said she's angry her son is bearing the brunt for the extortion.
CMS Police said some students evidently sent a friend nude photos of themselves. Investigators said some of those female students later received Instagram messages from an unknown person demanding more nude photos. If they didn't comply – the unknown person threatened to post their initial photos online.
Woods' mother said police told her they traced the IP address back to her place. She says they questioned her 17 year old son while he was in school, and a detective came to her home when she wasn't there.
She believes police illegally seized her son's electronics.
The mother told WBTV she also has a problem with how the case was handled. She said it was her son's friend – who is white – who got the nude photos from his girlfriends. She says school officials knew about it.
"If race wasn't a factor this would have been handled in February and April when they knew for a fact this other young man was disseminating these photos," she said. "He got a slap on the hand, got kicked out for a few days, was able to graduate and join the army."
She said when she learned about her son's case, she asked him about the photos. She said her son told her a fellow student "knows a lot of girls" and they sent that student the photos.
According to the woman, that friend taught her son how to blackmail the girls.
"My son he needs to know what he did was wrong but he's seeing it from a race perspective. And, even the young girls are being called victims. How are you a victim? The young girls started this" she said.
The mother said her son became involved in July, and stopped demanding more nude photos in August because he felt bad. She claimed her son never had any intentions of exposing the girls.
She said she confiscated his phone and tablet for a month, and then installed a family plan that had all communication to and from his phone - come through her phone.
Now, that her son is facing criminal charges - she wants to know what about the other students.
"At least investigate these other children," she said. "You're not going to do nothing to them?"
WBTV is still working to find out if this case is connected to a similar investigation that took place earlier this year.
In February, another investigation began after police say dozens of naked photos of Charlotte-area teen girls began circulating around a high school via a public website.
According to a police report from earlier this year, officers say a Dropbox file contained 75 pictures of naked female students from Hough.
Students told WBTV some of the people in the photos are freshman girls. Detectives said the youngest victim was just 14-years-old.
The pictures were all voluntarily and made off school grounds, according to police. The files began appearing online in mid-December and police began investigating on January 4.
Unfortunately, police said, the link was accessed by various people on the Hough High School campus.
Detectives said the Dropbox link has been taken down. They also said they have identified the student who created it.