Boise man arrested on three felony counts of child pornography after leaving phone in car

A Downtown fender-bender in September became a turning point in an ongoing investigation into a child pornography sharing group in Boise. They might not have had enough evidence before that moment — but the suspect left his wallet and cellphone in the car.

On Aug. 31, 2017, Neal G. Tilton rear-ended another car at 12th and Grove streets, backed up and fled the scene. He ditched what turned out to be a stolen vehicle at 9th and Main streets and took off on foot.

Police found his wallet in the car and were able to track the 40-year-old Tilton down and arrest him, according to a complaint filed in Idaho Federal District Court on Friday, Feb. 2.

They discovered his address was associated with emails and PayPal purchases that were being tracked by detective Tim Brady, who was investigating Boise links to a child pornography scheme.

A few days later, Tilton’s phone was discovered in the car. The owner turned it over to BPD and Brady received a search warrant for the LG phone. Through it was pass-code protected, a forensic examiner was able to view the images on the phone’s SD card — thousands of photos and videos of pornography and child pornography.

Investigators in Richmond, Texas, contacted Brady in August 2017 about a Dropbox link containing photos and videos of “minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct” sent via a free instant message service. The investigator in Texas traced the Dropbox account to an IP address in Boise.

Brady spent months tracking down aliases, emails, PayPal charges and deliveries to connect the dots that led to Tilton’s Southeast Boise home, according to the complaint.

Now, Tilton is charged with two counts of distribution of child pornography via the Internet, and a third count of possession of pornography involving a child younger than 12.

Dana Oland: 208-377-6442, @DanaOland