A 29-year-old Longwood man was arrested on suspicion of plotting to lure families to a home and kill the parents before raping and killing their children.
Shawn Ryan Thomas was arrested Thursday night on charges of premeditated attempted homicide, attempted sexual assault on a victim under 12 and 10 counts of possession of child pornography. All 12 allegations are felonies.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, an investigation began in March when FDLE received tips Thomas was downloading child pornography.
A week ago, investigators received a tip from a confidential informant that Thomas was planning to lure parents and a girl into a vacant house in Longwood under the guise of producing a film or TV show.
FDLE said the informant was disgusted with the information he was receiving and called the plan a "disturbing set of circumstances."
The FDLE said Thomas planned to kill the parents with a knife and rape and murder the girl. He also planned to record video of the rape and produce a DVD to sell, investigators said.
On Saturday, the FDLE said, Thomas lured a father, grandfather and a 9-year-old girl to a vacant house in Longwood by saying he was a student making a film. The family became suspicious and left, officials said, with the child's grandfather telling authorities he "observed one room to have a plastic sheet covering the floor."
Agencts believe the sheet was to clean up after the plotted murders. Agents also believe Thomas was going to try his plan again this weekend.
FDLE, with the assistance of Longwood Police Department, set up a meeting with Thomas and arrested him in Longwood on Thursday night. At the time of arrest, Thomas had a bag containing a knife, sexual lubricant, a camera and tripod, and plastic sheets, according to officials.
Thomas was booked into the Seminole County Jail without bond. At his first appearance, Thomas shook his head as the judge named off the charges against him.
"It's a safer place because this individual is in jail," FDLE said at a news conference.
FDLE said that Thomas was using Craigslist, along with working with talent agencies to recruit underaged actresses.
"It's disgusting it makes me sick to my stomach, knowing that he had gone out and he had tried to do this while he was living in my house," said Thomas' roommate, Anthony Derosa, who said his three children also lived with them at a Longwood home.
"We have all kinds of children that live in this neighborhood," said Kisha Hogan, who lived next door to Thomas. "He could have done that to any of them."
Anyone with further information about Thomas is urged to call the FDLE Orlando Regional Operations Center at 800-226-8521.