Columbus firefighter charged with exploitation of a minor

April 26, 2013 9:45:40 AM

Sarah Fowler - sfowler@cdispatch.com

 

A Columbus firefighter turned himself in to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department today after he was accused of having child pornography in his possession. 

 

Escorted by his attorney, Tyler Reid Lofton, 30, walked into the sheriff's department around 9 a.m. He was arrested and charged with one count of exploitation of children. 

 

Based on an anonymous tip, investigators with the sheriff's department executed a search warrant and raided Lofton's home in December where they confiscated his laptop. Sources said three boxes containing graphic images of children engaging in sexual acts were also taken from Lofton's residence in the Falcon Lair Apartment Complex in Columbus. 

 

Because Lofton is a city employee, the laptop was sent to the crime lab in Jackson instead of the local lab at the Columbus Police Department. 

 

Lofton has been a firefighter with the city since May 2008. Shortly after the raid of his home, Lofton entered a rehabilitation facility for medical issues. Sources close to the investigation say Lofton claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from working a fatal house fire. 

 

He has been on unpaid medical leave from the department since entering rehab. 

 

Lofton is currently in the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center awaiting bond. 

 

The investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff's department. 

 

Fire Chief Kenneth Moore declined to comment.

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah