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Police officer arrested for child solicitation on internet

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A Ruidoso police officer was arrested after engaging in online discussions of a sexual nature with a Homeland Security Investigator who he thought was a 15-year-old female.

Daniel Balding (Photo courtesy New Mexico State Police)

Daniel Balding, 35, of Ruidoso, was arrested Sept. 12 by agents with the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau and charged with one count of child solicitation by electronic communications device, according to a press release issued Friday by New Mexico State Police. He was later released on his own recognizance by a judge.

Balding is alleged to have sent images of himself and engaged in sexually explicit conversations on an app called “Whisper” with a Homeland Security Investigator special agent in Minnesota posing as a 15-year-old female, according to the release.

An affidavit filed in 12th Judicial District Court in Lincoln County states the Homeland Security investigator posing as the female had posted on the Whisper app “guys in uniform rock.” Balding then allegedly responded to the comment, which led to the exchange.

Homeland Security Investigators then informed State Police that they had been contacted on the Whisper App by an individual later identified as Balding.

When interviewed by State Police, Balding admitted he had been in a chat conversation on the Whisper app Sept. 12. Balding was later shown the log of the chat State Police received from Homeland Security and confirmed those were the messages he had sent, according to the affidavit.

The release states the case is still under investigation and no other information was available for release as of Friday.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.