Accused child predator appears in court

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – One man is locked up – because a mom and dad conducted their own sting operation after uncovering explicit messages between their 12-year-old daughter and a 32-year-old man.

David Munoz is starting the new year in front of a metro court judge.

"Excuse me your honor, I am aware of my charges, can you not state” said Munoz.

He’s charged with trying to have sex with a 12-year-old girl. Court documents show he was caught by the girl’s parents after they found explicit text messages and took things into their own hands.

"From a parent standpoint, It’s an absolutely horrific and terrifying thought to think that your child might be meeting with an adult,” said Paul Szych, retired APD commander and public safety expert.

Szych said this highlights the danger of phones and children.

"The challenging part as parents is, when is the right time to allow our children to have unlocked, unrestricted access to every other person on the planet. That’s essentially what you’re doing.”

In this case, the parents were fearful their pre-teen would go behind their back – so they set up their own sting operation at the Coronado Mall and detained Munoz themselves before calling police.

A move Szych says he understands – but had the potential to be dangerous or even deadly

“Immediately engage law enforcement, contact them ASAP, they will then set up these type of sting operations," Szych said.

Prosecutors have filed to keep Munoz locked up until trial, a decision a district court judge will have to make after hearing the new evidence and weighing the fact that Munoz was accused of something similar back in 2014. That case was dropped because the alleged victims would not testify.