DELTONA, Florida -- Volusia County Sheriff’s investigators filed more sex charges against 22-year-old Thomas Fleming who is already accused of abusing a 4-year-old girl after learning that the defendant and his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Autumn Ash, also allegedly abused a 7-month-old baby.
In addition to filing more sexual battery charges against Fleming, investigators have arrested Ash and charged her with five counts of sexual battery.
The investigation was launched on Friday after pictures of Fleming allegedly having sex with the 4-year-old were discovered on Ash’s cell phone. Deputies say that she initially denied knowing they were there. But after further questioning, she allegedly admitted knowing about the pornographic pictures and videos and said when they were dating, Fleming would send them to her and then the two of them would text each other and talk about sexual fantasies involving the child.
The discovery led to Fleming’s arrest Friday night on two counts of sexual battery. But as investigators continued to examine the child images on Ash’s cell phone, they discovered a second victim also being abused. Investigators identified the second victim as a 7-month-old baby girl.
Deputies say that Ash admitted that she and Fleming had taken pictures of the baby and performed sex acts on her on multiple occasions. After abusing the baby, Ash said she and Fleming would then have sex. Based on the additional information uncovered in the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office arrested Ash on Monday and also filed three additional sexual battery charges against Fleming.
After the images were discovered, the Sex Crimes Unit along with Sheriff’s investigators who specialize in working Internet crimes against children were able to quickly use their technological and investigative skills to access the images for evidentiary purposes, track down the suspect and secure an arrest in a matter of hours.
Ash, who lives in Orange City, and Fleming, who lists a Deltona address, are in jail being held without bond. The Sheriff’s Office’s Sex Crimes Unit and its Internet Crimes Against Children Unit are continuing to investigate. Both defendants are expected to face additional charges, including possession of child pornography.
Anyone with information about Fleming or additional victims is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office’s Sex Crimes Unit at (386) 323-3574.