RIVERDALE — Isabel Gurule thought she had made a new online friend. His name was Jon Anders, a fresh-faced 15-year-old from Salt Lake City.
On Feb. 23, the Riverdale 13-year-old and Anders connected through the social networking site meetme.com. Over the next three days, they chatted briefly over the phone and had a few flirty conversations via computer.
“I liked your voice, a very sweet voice,” Anders said in one of his first online chats with Isabel. Soon after, Anders pressed to meet Isabel at her home.
“We are still on for tonight, right?” Anders asked in a computer message. “I’ll be there at 1 (a.m.).” Isabel didn’t think Anders would actually show because 15-year-olds aren’t allowed to drive.
But she was wrong about that — and about a lot more.
Not only did Anders turn up near Isabel’s house around 1 a.m. Feb. 26, he was hiding dark secrets.
The “15-year-old” was actually Luis Salguero, a 27-year-old in the Air Force, stationed in Hawaii and in Utah visiting family.
Coincidentally, Isabel’s dad, Jeremy Gurule, spotted Salguero’s car parked in the neighborhood and, believing he was a prowler, called police.
He had no idea Salguero was there to meet his daughter.
“It probably would have turned out way different if I had known why he was there,” Jeremy Gurule said without elaborating.
Salguero admitted to police he had sex with a 15-year-old Roy girl he met through meetme.com and directed them to a condom in a parking lot as proof.
Salguero has been charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor in the Roy incident and enticing a minor for communicating with Isabel.
The Standard-Examiner doesn’t usually identify juvenile crime victims. However, Isabel and her mother, Tiffany Gurule, have come forward to warn others about the dangers of sexual predators lurking on the Internet.
“I want parents to understand it happens right here in Ogden,” Tiffany Gurule said.
“Their child right now could be talking to a predator (online). Even if you have a good relationship with your children, it’s good to make sure you are monitoring them on the Internet.”
Salguero was also charged last week in 3rd District Court with another count of unlawful sexual activity involving a 15-year-old Salt Lake City girl he met online.
He is being investigated by Honolulu authorities as well, said Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham.
“He is a predator, there is no question,” Whinham said. “We have enough information off his cellphone to show he had contacts with hundreds of underage females.”
Tiffany Gurule felt physically ill after learning Salguero had admitted to having sex with the Roy teen.
“My heart went to my throat, and I said to myself that, next time, that could be my daughter,” she said.
Niki Wolfe is an education specialist for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
It’s estimated that one in four children in Utah have been approached by online sexual predators, but some incidents go unreported, which means the ratio could be higher, Wolfe said in an email to the Standard-Examnier.
Internet sites, which include chat rooms, blogs, social media and gaming sites, frequently used by teens are particularly popular with sexual predators, Wolfe said.
“Any site that attracts individuals aged 10 to 15 who appear prepubescent is what predators are looking for generally. They generally want someone who appears childlike.”
Children often think of people they meet online as friends, not strangers, she said.
“That makes them more vulnerable to a grooming process that predators are so proficient at.”
Isabel never had an inkling Salguero was an imposter because he sounded like a teen during their phone conversations. She has been traumatized by the events and plans to get counseling.
“I’m scared to walk home (from school),” she said. “I don’t go outside by myself. I sleep downstairs by my parents’ bedroom. I didn’t think this would happen to me.”
Tiffany Gurule said she sets boundaries for her seven children, who range in age from 5 to 18, but doesn’t violate their privacy.
“I monitor what they are putting on Facebook,” she said. “I don’t go snooping through their rooms because that’s a trust issue. That’s their own area.”
However, the incident involving Salguero has caused her to implement some stricter rules, particularly for Isabel.
“Isabel is not going to give out her address unless it is someone I know,” she said.
Isabel has also been temporarily banned from using her cellphone, tablet and computer.
“It bothers me,” Isabel said, “but it’s good punishment because I can’t talk to anyone or do anything.”
If you suspect your child is communicating with a sexual predator online:
• Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Talk about the dangers of online sexual predators.
• Review what is on your child’s computer. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.
• Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child.
• Purchase a device that shows numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Also, if your home phone is equipped with a redial feature, the last number called from the phone can be retrieved.
• Monitor your child’s access to all types of live electronic communications — including chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc. — and monitor your child’s email. Sex offenders who use the Internet almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child online, they will continue to communicate electronically, often via email.