Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Child Sex Offenders

Even the Offenders Were Fooled

Neil Rodreick
Neil Rodreick

The news out of El Mirage, Arizona, north of Phoenix, at the end of January 2007 was a shock. A seventh-grader named Casey Price turned out to be a 29-year-old man passing as an adolescent — and he'd managed it for two years. He'd taken the name from a child he'd known in another state, and his short stature, shy manner, and slight body build had assisted him. He also shaved his body and used face powder to prevent people from seeing his beard stubble. His motive? To gain easy access to young boys, as well as to hide. He'd managed to make officials at Imagine Charter School in the town of Surprise believe his story for about four months, and they were not alone.

Brian Nellis
Brian Nellis

"Casey" was not alone, either. He lived with three other men who posed as his uncle, grandfather and cousin. He even kept up the façade among them, riding a bike like a kid, managing a skate-boarding club, and doing other activities that would affirm the deception he'd devised. Apparently, they believed he was indeed a kid, and they were even molesting him, because, after all, they were all child molesters, with two of them convicted sex offenders.

So was Casey. His real name is Neil H. Rodreick II and he was, himself, the victim of sexual abuse by neighbors. As often happens, he then became an abuser. When he was eighteen, he approached two six-year-old boys with a lewd proposition, resulting in his arrest and a ten-year sentence, of which he served seven. After prison, he traveled around, going to California to stay with his aunt until she discovered child pornography on his computer.

Lonnie Stiffler
Lonnie Stiffler

Rodreick returned to Oklahoma, registering as a sex offender, and moving into a trailer. A man he'd met in prison, a sex offender named Brian Nellis, moved in with him. As Rodreick posed as a thirteen-year-old, they hung out together at parks, fast-food restaurants, and playgrounds, apparently looking for vulnerable children. They left the area but stayed in the state, and when Nellis failed to pay for a rented computer, the store that repossessed it found the child pornography and turned him in. Apparently, he headed to Arizona.

Robert Snow
Robert Snow

Both of them hooked up with Lonnie Stiffler, 61, and Robert Snow, 43, who lived together in a three-bedroom house, trolling for kids on the Internet. With Nellis's help, Rodreick convinced the men he was a minor, so they brought him from Oklahoma to Arizona. They accepted that he was twelve. Of these four, only Stiffler was not a convicted sex offender.

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