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DOCUMENTS: Couple had hidden cameras in Lawrence home, recorded victims

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Multiple hidden cameras were found in a home in the Town of Lawrence, according to revelations from a search warrant in a federal child pornography investigation.

Michael J. Cannell is charged in federal court, accused of using the hidden cameras to produce child pornography.

Cannell’s girlfriend, Samantha Trebilcock, is charged in Brown County with four felonies. The counts include Child Enticement, Sexual Exploitation of a Child, and Capturing Images Without Consent. Prosecutors allege she helped entice a teenage victim to the home where the girl was secretly recorded while undressed.

INVESTIGATION

The Brown County Internet Crimes Against Children investigators focus on finding and stopping online predators. Those investigations often lead to people downloading or viewing child pornography. It’s not common, however, that a local child is the victim. This case was different.

Undercover agents say they discovered child pornography available for download from a device at Cannell’s home on Lost Dauphin Road, according to a criminal complaint. Newly released court records show Brown County investigators executed search warrants at the home in August and September. Investigators say they found several recording devices and equipment.

  • In the kitchen, a black charging block plugged into a wall contained a hidden camera, documents show.
  • In a laundry closet room, investigators found five USB flash drives with enough storage for hundreds of hours of video.
  • Another closet had a hi-definition wi-fi camera.
  • On a desk, two picture frames were outfitted with hidden cameras.
  • In a cabinet, investigators found a trail camera, a Go-Pro camera, a hard drive, two phones and a tablet.
  • In Amazon boxes, investigators found a smoke detector outfitted with a hidden camera, a phone dock charger with a hidden camera, a wireless phone charger with a hidden camera, and a wi-fi digital clock with a hidden camera.
  • Investigators searched Cannell’s truck at a Bellevue business and found a newly packaged hidden alarm clock camera.

Investigators believe Trebilcock lured a 16-year-old girl she knew to the Lawrence home and got her drunk. Videos were discovered of the girl undressed in the bathroom, according to investigators.

Investigators visited the victim at school. They say she “appeared in shock.”

Investigators found text messages between Trebilcock and Cannell expressing desire to have sexual conduct with the victim, according to the prosecution.

After news of Cannell’s arrest last week, a woman came forward to investigators to express concern that she had been secretly recorded by the couple. Investigators found video of the woman, who was in tears at the news.

Trebilcock appeared before the court Wednesday.

“I’m looking at the aggravated nature, and the legislature, a few years ago, indicated that victimization of minors is something that must be considered as an aggravated factor,” says Wendy Lemkuil, Brown County Deputy District Attorney.

Trebilcock’s attorney questioned the charges against his client.

“And there’s also question whether these are sexually explicit photographs or whether they constitute either sexually explicit or lascivious, which is a lesser definition,” said attorney John Miller Carroll.

Trebilcock’s bond was set at $20,000. A crime victims website shows she was released after posting bond.

Cannell is being held without bond, “by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community,” according to the order for detention.

He’s asked a federal judge to grant him conditional release.

Action 2 News will continue to update this story.

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