A man from South Carolina was arrested Tuesday night after he drove to Tennessee in an attempt to sexually exploit a 13-year-old girl from Cookeville.
David Vannelli, 39, of Anderson, South Carolina has been charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of solicitation of aggravated rape.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Squad began the investigation after receiving a tip from Homeland Security Investigations on Monday.
Investigators with Homeland Security discovered a “troubling advertisement on the dark web” soliciting a 13-year-old girl for sexual activity, says TBI.
Vannelli found the advertisement and began an “inappropriate conversation” with the minor. TBI agents found the girl’s family in Cookeville and took control of the conversation with Vannelli while posing as the minor.
A meeting was arranged for Vannelli to travel from his home in South Carolina to the girl’s home in Cookeville, Tennessee Tuesday night.
When Vannelli arrived at the girl’s home in Cookeville, TBI agents arrested Vannelli with assistance from law enforcement officers with HSI, FBI, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Cookeville Police Department.
Vannelli is being held at the Putnam County Jail on $53,000 total bond.