An unusual set of circumstances involving an illegal structure in the woods led to the February arrest of a man for possessing child pornography, the Seattle Times reported.
Daniel Wood of Mill Creek, Washington, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography after investigators found images hidden in a real-life “gingerbread house” in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Hikers and forest service officials had long held that an illegal cabin existed in the forest, but it wasn’t until November 2016 that a Washington Department of Natural Resources employee managed to find it. The employee had previously attempted to locate the cabin on five separate occasions.
The Seattle Times’ report included photos of the cabin. It was distinguished by its fairytale appearance, looking more like a gingerbread house than a regular cabin in the woods.
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) March 20, 2018
When the DNR employee entered the cabin, he found photos of young naked girls, some of them framed and some stuffed into an envelope. The cabin had bedding and other basic amenities for short-term living, like food and drinks. Forest Service employees had apparently inspected the cabin “in 2013 or 2014,” but found no evidence of child pornography at the time.
The case was given to the FBI since the cabin was illegally built on national forest land. FBI officials spoke to a search and rescue volunteer familiar with the forest who had seen a vehicle parked near the cabin once and recorded the license plate number. That led them to Wood’s condo in Mill Creek, which is a little less than 100 miles from the forest.
DNA collected from a discarded paper cup and Wood’s motorcycle handlebars matched DNA taken at the cabin. A search of his Mill Creek home turned up a memory card with thousands of pornographic images of children, as well as images of the cabin and the immediate area around it.
Authorities could not confirm if Wood had built the cabin or if someone else erected the bizarre structure. It stood 8 feet off the ground, with a pitched roof and a porch going all around the frame.
Wood, 56, will appear in court for arraignment on March 26. Child pornography possession is a felony in Washington.