LAUDERHILL (CBS4) – It began with a request to borrow a laptop.
It ended with a sexual battery suspect in jail.
A Broward County woman — whose identity we are protecting because her daughter is a sexual abuse victim –borrowed her daughter’s computer last summer.
We will call the woman “Mary.”
Mary admits she’s “nosy” and when she across her daughter’s diary, she read it. Contained in the diary was an entry about sexual assaults that occurred when the girl was just 6 years old. Mary’s daughter — now 21 — said that a teenage boy assaulted her twice in 1995 at a home in Lauderhill.
“I saw this and I screamed and I said, ‘Is this true? Is this true?’ and (my daughter) started crying, I was crying,” Mary told CBS 4′s Carey Codd.
The two women immediately went to the Lauderhill Police Department to report the attacks. Detectives investigated a suspect — Ezekiel Reid — but he denied the accusations. Reid was 13 at the time of the attacks.
It appeared the case had hit a dead end.
“It was more or less (my daughter’s) word against his,” Mary said. “There was no concrete evidence and we had to let it go until something else more substantial came about.”
Then Mary had an idea — confront Reid on Facebook.
“I just felt that something had to be done so I gave it a shot,” she said.
In early January, Mary sent a message to Reid and wondered if he would respond. He messaged her back an hour later.
Mary wrote that Reid was sick “to do such a horrible crime to an innocent little girl.”
Reid responded later: “all i kno is that what happened shouldn’t haved (sic), I was wrong to hurt anybody. Please my forgive my trespass. There is a lot of pain cirulating (sic) and I am the reason, If i could i’d change the past…”
Reid also offered to apologize in person.
During the conversation, Reid eventually told Mary: “…there is no excuse or xplanation (sic) to justify what I did, I have alot (sic) of forgiveness to ask of u, your daughter, my family and anyone who are (sic) affected by my actions. I am repeaing (sic) what i haved (sic) sowed.”
Mary said when she read Reid’s words, “I felt sick. My stomach just dropped.”
Mary’s daughter said Reid’s comments came as an enormous relief.
“For him to admit that something was done, was icing on the cake for me,” Mary’s daughter said. “It was no longer my word against your word. You did it.”
Mary took Reid’s words back to the Lauderhill Police Department. Detectives continued investigating and wound up arresting Reid in late January for two counts of sexual battery on a child. Reid is being held at the Paul Rein Detention Facility without bond.
Lauderhill Police Captain Rick Rocco said he’s never seen a situation like this one.
“We wouldn’t have gotten this (arrest) 10 years ago,” Rocco said. “The anonymity of the internet makes people feel safe behind the computer keyboard and enabled her to get that information. I don’t know if she would’ve gotten that face to face.”
Mary said it was something she felt she had to do to protect her daughter.
“I know (my daughter) expected me to do something about it,” Mary said. “I know that’s how she felt even though she didn’t say it to me. I knew she knew I was eventually going to make it right.”
Mary’s daughter called her mother’s actions “brave.” She said she kept the attacks a secret from her mother because she was scared. Now, the 21-year-old — who is attending college — is ready to testify in court against Reid.
“He should pay for what he done,” she said. “He took away my innocence. All I want is justice to be served.”