SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield man pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children in federal court today, Dec. 1.

Jeffrey Scott Saltkill admitted to the charge in a plea agreement. He was originally also charged with coercion or enticement of a female, activities regarding material containing child pornography, and transfer of obscene materials to minors.

From January to February of 2022, Saltkill was in contact with a minor through her phone. Eventually, the FBI gained control over the phone and Saltkill was in contact with a federal agent he still believed to be the 11-year-old girl. He was arrested on Feb. 15, 2022.

Minnesota to Missouri: Tracking Saltkill down

On Jan. 11, a Minnesota mother contacted Lake St. Louis Police Department with a report about her daughter being in contact with a grown man in Missouri. The LSLPD passed the information onto the St. Louis division of the FBI and an investigation began.

A special agent interviewed the mother, who said that she took her daughter’s phone when she discovered she had been talking to older men she met on the internet. One man in particular had sent her daughter nude images of a man and requested images of her. He also told the child that he want to come to her home to engage in sexual acts, according to court documents.

The special agent asked the victim’s mother for the phone and she mailed it to him. The agent found text messages between the girl and an alias named “Jaylin.” In the messages, “Jaylin” asked for nude images after the victim told him that she was 12.

The two continued to send each other sexually explicit messages until her mother found out and sent the phone to the FBI. The Missouri agent continued the explicit conversation.

The FBI used the phone number attached to the phone texting the victim to find an internet protocol (IP) address for the Wi-Fi it was using. The IP address was found to be attached to a person in Springfield — specifically to an apartment on East Stanford Street.

This led the FBI agent to Saltkill’s apartment. During an interview, Saltkill told the FBI that he had used an online service called Omegle to contact the girl. She had posted her phone number on the service. He told her he was 16 years old.

According to the court records, Saltkill said he was addicted to communicating with children and obtaining sexual images. He had created situations similar to this one with four or five other minors. He said he had been single and lonely since he turned 30 and could not meet a woman who was interested in dating him. Saltkill said he communicated with minors out of loneliness and desperation.

Saltkill faces up to 30 years in prison. Ozarks First will update this article with the date of his sentencing when it is released.