FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2022
A Starkville man is in jail after coming to Columbus expecting to meet an 11-year-old minor for sexual reasons. Instead, the man met members of the Columbus Police Department and was promptly arrested.
Shykel Andres Spruell, 23-years-old, of Starkville, MS, has been charged with solicitation of sex with a minor following the incident on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said the child’s mother first called Columbus Police.
“The child’s mother found improper texts and images sent by someone to her daughter,” Chief Shelton said. “She asked the daughter about the items and was told the man wanted to meet her in Columbus. We got involved, and our officers and detectives were at the location when he appeared to meet her. Instead, he met us and was promptly arrested.”
Chief Shelton praised the action of the mother. “Parents, guardians, relatives, friends, please take note of the social media contacts of minors,” Chief Shelton said. “Plenty of people want to take advantage of them and cause harm. Protection starts with closely monitoring their social contacts on the phone and computers. It is not hard to do. There is software that will allow you to do so, but the simplest way is to check the phone or computer.”
The Chief also praised his officers and investigators. “Thank you to the professionals at the Columbus Police Department for taking this case to this arrest so quickly,” he said.
Chief Shelton said this incident is unfortunately not uncommon. “I wish it were different, but this happens far too often,” said Chief Shelton. “These are different times we live in, and you can’t let your guard down for a second with our youth. Always verify their activity.”
Chief Shelton added additional praise for the mother. “This is a perfect case of Mom being Mom to protect her child. Thank you for calling the police.”