MIDDLESBORO, KY - Technology and social media can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a dangerous thing. That fact is now no more apparent than to a Jackson County, WV teenager and her family.
Joey G. Miracle, 30. of Middlesboro, KY, been arrested, returned to Jackson County, WV, and now faces charges of solicitation of a minor via computer and second degree sexual assault against a 16-year-old female victim.
The nightmare began after the victim approved a “Friend request” from Miracle and two to began exchanging communications via phone and Facebook messaging. However, the communications turned dark and eventually became threatening and harassing after the girl became fearful and tried to end the relationship.
The victim contacted Deputy L.M. Casto of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in November, 2015, to lodge a harassment complaint against Miracle, who was allegedly threatening her in phone calls and messages.
Miracle allegedly inquired about the victim’s age (15 at the time) early in the Facebook “friendship,” and the communications eventually turned toward sexual requests from Miracle. He also allegedly requested and demanded explicit photos of the victim (which she sent) and sent explicit photos of himself to her.
In October, 2015, Miracle traveled by bus to Jackson County to meet the victim in person at a Fairplain restaurant and alleged threatened and coerced her into sex acts with him near the skate park in Ripley.
Miracle allegedly threatened his victim with calling Child Protective Services and having her removed from her family on numerous occasions, along with threats of killing her, her family and himself. His demands allegedly became even more sexually deviant as the months progressed, including allegedly posing as her on a Craig’s List account to attract other older men to her for sexual liaisons. The victim claimed the harassment and threats from Miracle escalated.
The police investigation by Deputy Casto with JCBI detectives Sgt. Eric Cullen, Ross Mellinger and Bobby Knox assisting disclosed evidence to corroborate the victims allegations against Miracle including his requests and demands for explicit photos, sexual favors and threats he made.
A search warrant was processed and a group of Jackson lawmen made the six hour trip to Bell County, Kentucky to Miracle’s 212 Beans Fork Road, Middlesboro, KY residence to serve it. They were joined by Bell County (KY) Sheriff Department officers. The lawmen from Jackson County included lead investigator Deputy Lucas Casto, JCBI detectives Sgt. Eric Cullen, Ross Mellinger and Bobby Knox, and Ripley Police Department Brian Anderson.
Miracle was arrested and returned to Jackson County to face the felony solicitation of a minor via computer and sexual assault charges. He was lodged in the South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $130,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set before Magistrate Tom Reynolds on March 7, 2016.