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Photos show arrest in global pedophile hunt

  • Story Highlights
  • U.S. federal agents detain pedophile suspect sought in global hunt
  • Interpol believe that he worked as a Santa Claus in New York
  • NEW: Suspect Wayne Nelson Corliss, appears in court; no plea entered
  • NEW: Prosecutor tells court he admits abusing boys age 6 to 10 in Thailand
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(CNN) -- A pedophile suspect who became the subject of an international manhunt this week after an appeal from Interpol has been detained in the United States.

Wayne Nelson Corliss was arrested at his New Jersey apartment.

Wayne Nelson Corliss, 58, was arrested at his apartment in Union City, New Jersey, about midnight Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Interpol said in a written statement.

He is believed to have worked as an actor using the name Casey Wayne and to have worked as a Santa Claus in New York during the holiday season, Interpol said.

Corliss appeared Thursday before a U.S. magistrate in Newark, New Jersey, but did not enter a plea.

During that appearance, prosecutors said he had confessed and acknowledged traveling to Thailand, where on three occasions he abused boys between 6 and 10 years old after using a madam to find them.

Prosecutors said he brought back a pair of boys' underwear as a souvenir. It was among items found in his apartment, along with five hard drives containing more than 1,000 images of child pornography, according to prosecutors.

In addition, authorities said Corliss admitted to frequenting online chat rooms that discuss having sex with children.

Interpol announced Tuesday that it was attempting to identify the man, who was featured in 100 photographs sexually abusing at least three boys between the ages of 6 and 10, it said.

The images came to light in 2006, when Norwegian authorities discovered them in the possession of a man they arrested. They were believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia.

Interpol posted six pictures of the suspect on its Web site.

"Two days ago, this man's nationality, identity and location were totally unknown," Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said.

"All we had to go by were a series of graphic photographs in which the suspect was seen sexually abusing young children and our confidence that the public and police worldwide would once again respond to Interpol's call for assistance.

"That two days later the primary suspect is now in custody is an outstanding achievement and credit to the citizens, media and law enforcement worldwide who responded to Interpol's call."

Corliss is charged with producing child pornography, according to prosecutors. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, with a 10-year minimum, if convicted in the United States. Other charges could be sought when the case is presented to a grand jury, said Michael Drewniak, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey.

The images found in 2006 were on a computer and stored in a file named "Thai--Luv," according to the criminal complaint filed against Corliss, which was released by the Department of Justice. Data on the images showed that they had been taken in 2000.

The complaint alleges that the suspect's face is clearly shown and the background suggests the images were taken in Thailand. "The images depict an airport luggage tag with the code 'BKK.' BKK is the luggage tag code for Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand." Also shown is a "Chang" water bottle, common in Thailand, the court documents said.

A search of U.S. passport information found an image of Corliss that police compared to the photographs, the complaint said. "Furthermore, databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security indicated extensive travel to Asia by defendant Corliss."

On Wednesday, Interpol said it was sifting through hundreds of tips that had poured in.

The organization, which facilitates global cooperation among police agencies, said Thursday that it received nearly 250,000 visits to its Web site within the first 24 hours after its appeal was launched -- more than 10 times the daily average.

Such tactics have proved successful for Interpol in the past.

In October, it disseminated pictures of another man whose face -- altered to disguise his identity -- appeared in more than 200 images of sex acts with children, thought to have been taken in Vietnam and Cambodia.


Ten days later, Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old Canadian who had been working as an English-language teacher in South Korea, was arrested in Thailand and charged with child abuse after police managed to reverse the photo-masking process.

After the success of that operation, Interpol's general assembly approved a resolution allowing Interpol to seek public help in child sex abuse investigations.

CNN's Jonathan Wald contributed to this report.

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