Child porn suspect still at large

Brice Gage Watkins

Authorities still are seeking a man wanted for distribution of child pornography in Garfield County.

Brice Gage Watkins, 22, who has no current address listed, was charged Aug. 14 in Garfield County District Court. A Garfield County judge granted an arrest warrant and denied bond.

Enid Police Department announced on its Facebook page on April 14 that Watkins has been arrested that same day by Norman Police Department officers. However, on Aug. 17, updated its Facebook page to say NPD had arrested the wrong man.

NPD spokeswoman Sarah Jensen said Norman police contacted a 29-year-old man Aug. 14 who matched Watkins' photograph that had been released by Enid police. The man, who was homeless, refused to positively identify himself and fled from police, she said. After he was apprehended, police determined he wasn’t Watkins. Norman police arrested him on an interference complaint and booked him into Cleveland County Jail. Jail records indicated he was only in custody for three hours before he was released.

EPD Sgt. Nick John said Enid investigators received a call from Norman police Aug. 14 that Watkins had been apprehended. Their social media person then posted about Watkins' supposed arrest to stop an overwhelming number of tips that were coming in from residents. John said Enid police didn't find out that Watkins wasn't in custody until Aug. 17.

Watkins was charged Aug. 14 in Garfield County District Court. A Garfield County judge granted an arrest warrant and denied bond.

According to a Garfield County court affidavit, Norman Police Sgt. Adam Crane took a police report Aug. 11 from a woman who said she received a video showing Watkins molesting a young child. She said she recognized the child and the house shown in the video. She claimed the house was in Enid, and that she was friends with Watkins and the child's mother.

According to the affidavit, an Enid police officer contacted another of Watkins' friends who claimed to have received a video from him on social media Aug. 11. When she opened the video Aug. 12, she saw Watkins doing inappropriate things to the child, who she said was 1 years old.

According to the affidavit, the Enid officer viewed the video and saw a message above it that said “whos child is this.” The video included a screen recording of a phone's camera roll that allegedly showed Watkins molesting the child.

According to the affidavit, the Enid officer confirmed Watkins' identity by viewing photographs of him on his Facebook account and verifying them.

Enid police have asked residents who may know of Watkins' whereabouts to text keyword EPDTIP to 847411 plus their anonymous tip or send the tip via the Enid PD app. Residents with viable tips could earn a reward.

Enid Police Detective Tanner Austin said the department hasn't received any reliable tips, except that Watkins could be in the Norman area.

He said the investigation remains open, and detectives are working on a few tips. The department also is working with the NPD to apprehend Watkins.

Austin said he foresees Watkins facing other pending charges.

Berry writes for the Norman Transcript.

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