Police use Facebook campaign to help solve cold cases

Larry Batts

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A local police department is turning to social media to crack cold cases, including one involving a man accused of sexually abusing a little girl.

James City County Police have been trying to find 53-year-old Larry Batts for three years. Batts is accused of sexually abusing a six-year-old girl in 2012.

“It’s unthinkable to have a small child become the victim of a sexual offense, so I can only imagine the fear that the child experienced that night,” said Deputy Chief Steve Rubino.

This year, police posted Batts’ picture on the county’s Facebook page, under the hashtag “Wanted Wednesday.” It’s part of a campaign to get more eyes on suspects from unsolved cases.

“It’s our hope, by highlighting this case and putting Mr. Batts’ face and information out there, that someone will call when they know where he’s at so we can pick him up,” Rubino said.

Police said Batts has family in Williamsburg and has stayed in several places in the county, including a mobile home community on Brian Street.

“It’s just hard for me to believe, you know, he did that, but I haven’t seen him. I talked to an officer not long ago and said if I saw him I’d sure let him know,” said Michael Hamilton, who lives in the community.

Hamilton said Batts used to live down the street from him and they would go fishing and watch football together. He said if he saw him, he would tell Batts to turn himself in.

“If he did what they said he did, he needs to be caught. If he didn’t do it, he needs to turn himself in, you know, clear his name,” Hamilton said.

Rubino said Batts knew the victim through her family’s friends.

“As far as we know, this is a single victim and an isolated case, but still, it’s a very serious charge. It’s one that we take very seriously, so we are definitely looking to find Mr. Batts and bring him to justice,” Rubino said.

Police said Batts has been known to stay on Centerville Road, Diascund Road, Brady Drive, and has ties to Berryville, Virginia, near the West Virginia line.

Batts faces two felony sex crimes and a misdemeanor. Police said he is also wanted on two unrelated traffic cases. If you know something about this case, call Crime Line at 1-888-lock-u-up.


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