Cody Mitchell, 32, had been in a relationship with a 33-year-old Palm Coast woman with whom he had a daughter. A year ago the woman secured an injunction against him after she told the court that Mitchell had fabricated several social media dating profiles, some of them sexual in nature, featuring her and her underage daughter.
Mitchell allegedly never stopped, and was harassing the woman’s mother and other daughter as well through a variety of means. The case, not unusual in the age of proliferating social media accounts, privacy breaches and identity theft, reflects the ease with which an individual can claim another’s accounts, then quickly spread false information and create havoc in the person’s life, or the lives of the person’s family members–with limits: he was caught.
Following a long investigation that involved subpoenas to social media sites, a warrant was issued for Mitchell’s arrest in mid-April on two felony charges–aggravated stalking after an injunction and aggravated stalking. Pennsylvania State Police located him on May 7, where he was held at a local jail pending extradition. He was booked at the Flagler County jail on Thursday.
“This woman and her family have lived for years being distressed and stalked by this deranged tormentor,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is a bizarre case of revenge were he ignored his injunction and dedicated his time to trying to make the victim’s life miserable and damage her reputation. I hope that the courts deal harshly with him and put him in prison where he can no longer prey on this woman and
He’d allegedly created no fewer than 11 profiles using variations of his ex-girlfriend’s name and that of other women and girls, 10 of the profiles using his ex’s date of birth, the subpoenas showed, some of them involving his ex’s mother’s name. He’d attempted to breach her TurboTax account and tried to sell the ex’s mother’s old house. He’d posted images of her with obscene suggestions on Pinterest–on her own page.
The ex’s mother had written out a detailed statement to detectives, citing the “strange men” and “obscene pictures” Mitchell was allegedly sending her daughter’s way. “He has mentioned using guns,” she went on. “He has gotten into my daughters [sic] bank and credit card account. He has her electric turned off 4 times until we finally changed her bill into my name. Has called children services and claimed we were abusing my 1 + 3 year old granddaughters and had them, come to our homes.” The woman described Mitchell allegedly trashing her grandchildren’s rooms, and that he was “OBSESSED with making us miserable.” The harassment, she said, had gone on for three years, with fears of escalation.
The fabricated accounts resulted in several individuals showing up at Mitchell’s ex’s previous address in Palm Coast’s P Section, where newer tenants were subjected to the unwanted visits. He’d also ordered deliveries from Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Five Star Pizza and Chinese food to the same address–all on the single night of Nov. 10. The woman showed a detective emails she received indicating that men frequenting the “Plenty of Fish” dating app were trying to get in touch with her.
The stalking took lurid form, as when Mitchell allegedly sent the picture of a vagina to the woman’s current boyfriend or some of the unwanted visitors asked for girls by name–referring to the ex’s underage daughter.
All but one of the accounts had the same IP address in common, which traced back to a York Road address in Gettysburg, Pa., where Mitchell was living with his brother at the time. Detectives also secured written messages harassing other members of the ex’s family, written in a belittling tone, at times demeaning the look of the children, writing offensively about the ex’s current boyfriend, and discussing the dissemination of children’s pictures on dating sites (“if you spend time with the child that’s on 20 dating websites how does that make you and your family look”).
He was also taunting: “Your mother is on meet me messaging Random man on that website and she said she’s gonna call the cops about it,” he wrote. “But the cops don’t care so what’s the point of calling the cops.”
Cops did care (the investigation was conducted by the sheriff’s office’s Fiona Ebrill), and on May 7the State Attorney’s Office filed the two third-degree felony charges against Mitchell.