California man charged in 2015 Plainfield cyber death threats

United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced charges in the Plainfield cyber threat case had been filed against 26-year-old Buster Hernandez. (WTHR Photo)
Plainfield threat charges
Charges to be filed in Plainfield cyber threat case
Charges to be announced in Plainfield cyber threats case

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) - Federal authorities allege that the person who called himself Brian Kil on Facebook and terrorized Plainfield back in December 2015 is actually 26-year-old Buster Hernandez, who was arrested Thursday in Bakersfield, California.

"We promised that we would not give up and that we would find the person who had been threatening the high school and victimizing young girls," said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Indianapolis Division. "I know for some it will have never been done soon enough."

The 37-page criminal complaint against Hernandez includes details of the sextortion of a girl under 12 years old from Plainfield. Brian Kil posted on social media "I will slaughter your entire class and save you for last".

The FBI used sophisticated small computer code, NIT (Network Investigative Technique), hidden in a video file downloaded and opened by 26-year-old Buster Hernandez to find the true IP address of his computer. More than 100 search warrants and 200 grand jury subpoenas were executed in the investigation to hunt down the person who sexually exploited a girl under 12 years old in Plainfield, then threatened her classmates and the whole community.

"This was a sophisticated dark web, which allowed him to mask his IP address," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler. "He thought he could not be found. In the cyber world, this was the modern equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack."

"Even for sick individuals like Brian Kil, I hate to even reference his name, he thought that he could hide under the cover of the dark web," said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, "not with the expertise of the FBI of the United States of America. He did not hide."

During a news conference at the Plainfield town courtroom, Minkler announced three counts of sexual exploitation and cyber threats for Hernandez. Authorities believe Hernandez committed similar sextortion crimes over the internet in 10 federal districts in multiple states.

"In his words, he wanted to be the worst cyber-terrorist that ever lived," said Minkler. "The evidence showed that he was well on his way to achieving that goal."

Kil tried to obtain sexually explicit photographs from his young victim, and threatened violence against schools and a shopping mall if he didn't get them. Plainfield High School cancelled classes on December 17, 2015. Danville High School also closed due to the threats. The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield also closed December 19, 2015.

Plainfield Community School Corporation released a statement: "News of the arrest brings tremendous relief to families not just here in Plainfield, but nationwide."

"Many of the Plainfield town officials and school officials would love to get up here and talk also, but I just know on behalf of them, this has really brought a good solution, a final solution to this case," said Plainfield Police Chief Darel Krieger.

Minkler pointed to previous cases involving former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle and former Park Tudor School basketball coach Kyle Cox as examples that his office and investigators in his federal district will vigorously pursue perpetrators and prosecute sex crimes against children.

"For individuals that victimize our children here in the Southern District of Indiana, these men behind me will give full meaning to the long arm of the law," said Minkler. "Even if you are in Bakersfield, California and you never set foot in the Southern District of Indiana, you will face the harsh consequences of a federal prosecution."

Hernandez will be brought to Indianapolis to face the federal charges. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison.