DELAND, Fla. - An Orlando man has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars for child sex crimes. Tyler Thompson was arrested in February of 2021 when deputies found the then 22-year-old with a 13-year-old in a motel room. The deputy that found her tells FOX 35 News the sentencing is gratifying.
"I’m very happy with the sentencing," said Volusia County Deputy Royce James. "I think his 40-year sentence is well deserved."
Thompson, now 24, was found guilty on 30 counts of child sex crimes. His sentencing coming down in a Volusia County courtroom.
"The sentencing is where I got my true award my gratification and everything. That really meant a lot for me for him to be locked away for 40 years," said James. "Just knowing that that kid is going to be locked up until he’s in his mid-60s, I love the idea of that."
Deputy James is the sheriff who found the 13-year-old girl in an Edgewater Motel room after she never made it to her basketball game. Investigators say Thompson had met the young girl online and brought her to the motel for a "sleepover." James still remembers her running to him and clinging to his side after hours of tracking her down.
"I also routinely think ‘What if? What if? What if?’ What if we wouldn’t have found her? What would he have done?" said James.
That day was emotional for James as he has daughters not much older than the girl he rescued. Today, he still holds a close relationship with her.
"I’ve had dinner with them several times. I go by the house. She constantly texts me and calls me, so we do stay in contact with one another," said James.
James says that the girl he once saved is now a vibrant, intelligent, and personable young woman. He’s just thankful the planets aligned for him to get there in time. Security experts say parents have tools to prevent someone like Thompson from praying on their children. Chief Security Officer at Gold Sky Security Jonathan Cox says that begins with a conversation.
"When you understand what your children are doing online you can really help them understand what’s really appropriate and what’s not," said Cox.
Cox says both android and apple phones have family safety apps that can help you limit screen time and access to certain apps.
"That can certainly help put safeguards in place both technically and also from an education perspective they really have some great products to help out in that capacity," said Cox.
Cox says to remind your children that the internet is forever. You should discuss what photos or comments are safe to post online.
"It’s important to understand what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. As a family you can decide that together," said Cox.