Crime

Kennewick businessman suspected of being a ‘big fish’ in child pornography circles

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

Detectives say the co-owner of a longtime downtown Kennewick business may be a “big fish” in the world of child pornography.

Daniel J. Bunch, 39, was arrested early Thursday following an extensive investigation that started with the FBI.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly came upon an illicit download and shared the information with the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, in an attempt to track down the Tri-Cities suspect.

The ICAC team of investigators have been responsible for numerous arrests in recent years, including 26 men in 2017 accused of soliciting young people online in the Tri-Cities.

Sgt. Darryl Judge, the task force spokesman, told the Tri-City Herald this was a significant arrest for the detectives since Bunch had been on their radar for some time.

The Kennewick father was taken into custody outside his Kennewick home was booked into the Benton County jail at 6:43 a.m. Thursday.

‘Distribution game of child pornography’

Bunch is being held without bail on suspicion of two counts each of possessing and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

“We believe he was a big fish in the distribution game of child pornography. That’s what we suspect,” said Judge.

Bunch is a fourth-generation employee of Bunch Finnigan Appliances on East Columbia Drive in Kennewick. The Washington State Department of Revenue lists him as one of the three governors of the business.

A profile on the business website says Daniel Bunch is a Kennewick High School graduate who has worked in the store since 1994, and is known as “Dan, Dan, The TV Man” for his expertise with home entertainment and theater systems.

Judge could not go into great detail about the allegations, but said Bunch is accused of both downloading and sharing child pornography.

Remotely accessed store laptop

He allegedly connected a hidden laptop to the hard drives inside the store and was able to remotely access that computer for his child pornography stash.

Those extra layers of security reportedly delayed detectives in pinpointing the person who was controlling the illegal files.

Judge wanted to make it clear that while the suspect works at Bunch Finnigan Appliances and used the business’ computer network, there is no evidence that the rest of his family or other employees were involved in the child pornography scheme.

Detectives served search warrants to seize evidence at several locations, including the business and Bunch’s home.

Judge said the investigation is ongoing for task force detectives, who work for the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Kennewick and Richland police departments.

Bunch is scheduled to make his first appearance Friday in Benton County District Court.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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