Our next four fake teens had darker motives than just recapturing their lost youth.
In 1994, a young Mormon known (by request) only as Jessica was serving her church mission in Santa Monica when she met a sad and bedraggled homeless boy, 15-year-old Scott Davion. He said he had left his home state, New York, to travel the country. Someone in the Dakotas had advised him to go to L.A., he said.
Jessica’s family in had taken in needy people before, as good LDS members are wont to do, so Jessica told her new friend Scott to go to SLC and call on her mother, Charmayne.
Charmayne and her husband became surrogate parents to the boy, enrolling him Cottonwood High. He was an excellent student, as well as a popular one. He dated several girls and went to the prom. He was also baptized into the LDS church. His foster family helped him procure a Social Security card so he could get a job, and in 1998 he got his own apartment and began work at a computer company called Elite Systems. By the middle of 2000 he had worked his way up to the sales floor. He had a steady girlfriend.
This is where Scott’s life went off the rails. Before the end of the year, everyone in his circle of adopted family and friends knew he was really 32-year-old Kenneth Lickiss from Lethbridge, Alberta. He had already been a Mormon long before meeting Jessica; he served his own mission in Poland.
Elite Systems employees had discovered that computers were being sold out of the shop on the sly, and it didn’t take them long to figure out that Scott was the likeliest culprit. As soon as the police caught on, “Scott” convinced his girlfriend to move with him to his parents’ home in Lethbridge. Needless to say, she figured out he was a lot older than 19 and that his name was not Scott Davion. She returned to SLC solo.
Kenneth remained on the run for a year. Then, in 2001, he confessed his entire scam to a co-worker at a tire store in Mason County, Washington. He was hastily extradited back to Utah to face an array of theft and forgery charges, but there were no charges for posing as a teenager for four years.
Note: In the comments section of this post, someone identifying herself as Lickiss’ sister-in-law informs me that Lickiss never worked at a tire store in Mason County. Rather, he turned himself in after spending time with his family in Canada. A Deseret News story of December 8, 2004 states that Lickiss was arrested in Mason County and was “reportedly” employed at a tire store there.
A Sweet Boy
In 2003, 16-year-old Pia Marcelo of Renton, Washington, began chatting online with an 18-year-old boy named Mark Villaneuva. He was sweet. He had soulful dark eyes and pouty lips. He cried over sad songs and seemed a lot more sensitive than your average teenage boy. Maybe that was because he had suffered so much in his short life; his dad had killed himself, his mom died of cancer. In 2005, Pia convinced her mother to let him live with the Marcelo family, and he became like a brother to Pia and her siblings. Everyone teased him about how shy, modest, and awkward he could be. Then they saw a less cuddly side of Mark. He never seemed to repay loans, and even stole some blank checks. Finally, the Marcelos tired of his scamming and turfed him.
In late 2005, a 13-year-old girl in Everett, Washington began dating a cute older boy. He was cool. He liked hip-hop and was a mall rat. He said he was all alone in the world, without a home; his dad killed himself, and his mom died of cancer. So the girl convinced her mother to let him live in their duplex. He shared a room with her younger brother.
The relationship quickly turned violent. Mark was jealous and abusive, hitting or biting his girlfriend on a routine basis. Perhaps to make sure she didn’t spend time with any other guys, he showed up at her middle school every afternoon and waited patiently for her in the office so he could drive her home in his secondhand car.
Mark was charged with fourth-degree domestic assault for biting and punching her, but the charges were dismissed when he agreed to undergo domestic violence treatment.
The young couple had unprotected sex.
In April 2005, when they had been dating for about 18 months, Mark was pulled over by a police officer at a gas station. Sgt. Robert Goetz peered into the car and asked the girl, who was in the passenger seat, why she was with “this woman”.
“That’s my boyfriend,” the 14-year-old replied.
“Mark” was promptly arrested. Not only was he driving on a suspended license, which is why Goetz pulled him over, but he was not actually a 19-year-old boy. He was Lorelei Corpuz, a 29-year-old woman who drifted from household to household, writing bad checks and mooching cash. (She also received handouts from her mother, who was alive and well.)
At the start of the 2005-06 school year at Stillwater Area High School in the small town of Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, a strange English kid visited the school several times. He said he was the Fifth Duke of Cleveland, Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, resident of Falkland Castle and personal friend of the royal family. Princess Di used to babysit him. He spoke of hobknobbing with Josh Hartnett and Hilary Duff, and breezily mentioned that he was considering joining the plebes by transferring to Stillwater, presumably from some posh UK boarding school.
You might think think this kid’s Google finger was broken, because Wikipedia clearly states that the Fourth Duke of Cleveland’s titles “went extinct upon his death without issue” in 1891. But skeptical student reporters for Stillwater High’s Pony Express newspaper found that someone had created a Wikipedia page for Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, and that person was Joshua Gardner.
Joshua Gardner, it turned out, was a 22-year-old who had been convicted of criminal sexual conduct with an underage girl two years earlier, and was still on parole.
In jail, Gardner told The Today Show, “Becoming Caspian, I was given respect, and people… don’t look at you in that way that they would look at a sex offender.”
Clearly, Gardner doesn’t have the mental agility to successfully impersonate…well, anyone. The most disturbing aspect of the incident is that Stillwater High staff accepted his story at face value and gave him tours of the school, introducing him to students as a 17-year-old duke. Apparently their Google fingers were broken.
One of the most complex and disturbing fake teen cases is that of Neil Rodreick II. Unlike every other “teen” you’ll see in this series, he did not act alone.
In January 2007, staff at Mingus Springs Charter School in Chino Valley, Arizona, were growing deeply alarmed about the transcripts of a new student, 12-year-old Casey Price. On some of the documents provided by his grandfather, Lonnie Stiffler, his name was misspelled “Casy”, and much of the information about his educational background had been fabricated. Though his birth certificiate was supposedly German, it didn’t feature metric measurements. Stiffler had listed his attorney as W.A. Drew Edmondson, then Attorney General of Oklahoma. And he had misspelled the name.
Though Casey spoke and behaved like any other seventh grader, everyone at Mingus Springs thought he looked much older than 12.
Fearing that Casey could be an older, abducted child, the school notified the sheriff’s department. Casey was taken out of class by a deputy.
Casey lived with his grandfather, uncle, and cousin in a three-bedroom trailer home in Chino Valley, where he set up a ramp for skateboarding and rode his bike up and down the street. Before enrolling at Mingus Springs, he attended Imagine Charter School in nearby Surprise for four months, and was expelled for poor attendance. His schoolwork had been mediocre, his manner shy and withdrawn.
Detectives Ross Diskin and Tom Buvik of the Chino Valley Police promptly paid a visit to the trailer home on Del Rio Drive, accompanied by Yavapai sheriff’s deputies. Cousin Brian, Uncle Robert, and Grandpa Lonnie were all at home, watching porn together.
Though the men lived in modest circumstances, Casey’s room was stocked with a flat-screen TV, DVD player, game system, and personal computer. He looked like one spoiled kid.
Lonnie Stiffler explained he had legal custody of his youngest grandson, Casey. His oldest grandson, Brian, was 34. Robert Snow was his nephew. He awkwardly insisted that the documents he handed over to the school were authentic, even when the investigators pointed out misspellings and the names of nonexistent people.
“Uncle Robert”, 43, gave confused and confusing answers to questions. He said he wasn’t sure if he ever had custody of his nephew Casey or not. “I have been told that I have and I’ve also seen paperwork that looks just like that indicating that I supposedly had custody of him,” he told the investigators, who were already aware Snow was an unregistered sex offender. They were planning to arrest him.
Snow explained, in a vague and rambling manner, that Linda Price (living in Germany) had handed custody of her son over to the family to protect him from a “large group of sexual predators”, a “special group of people” who had apparently been pursuing Casey since he was a young child. For this reason, Casey had been enrolled at one Arizona school under the name “Casey Rodreick”.
The story gradually meandered into even weirder territory. Snow admitted that he and Lonnie Stiffler weren’t related to the boy at all. They had met Casey online while Casey and Linda were living in Oklahoma, and offered to take care of him when Linda decided to move back to Germany two years earlier. The custody changeover had been facilitated, bizarrely, by a U.S. Marshall named Mike Masters, described by Snow as “a friend of Casey”. Stiffler and Snow never met Linda or Casey’s brothers.
Stiffler then admitted Casey was not his grandson. He was, indeed, an Oklahoma boy he and Robert Snow had met online, and Linda Price had given him permission to visit his “friends” in Arizona.
Ultimately, both Snow and Stiffler confessed to committing sexual acts with 12-year-old Casey.
“Cousin Brian’s” story was much different. He claimed he began taking care of Casey three or four years earlier, while he was attending college in Oklahoma. The boy’s father, Neil Rodreick, had abandoned him. In 2004, Casey ran away from their home in El Mirage to live with Stiffler and Snow. Brian followed.
Brian Nellis, too, was an unregistered sex offender, convicted of molesting a 7-year-old, but denied molesting Casey.
Meanwhile, Casey confided to a deputy he felt uncomfortable around Snow because “he acts gay around me”. He feared that Robert was taking advantage of him sexually while he was asleep. Child Protective Services was summoned to the trailer.
That’s when Brian Nellis blurted out that Casey wasn’t a boy at all – he was a 29-year-old man.
It sounded like the stupidest story yet, but it was true. The investigators learned that “Casey Price” was Neil Rodreick II, a 29-year-old ex-con from Oklahoma. He was released from prison in 2002, having served 7 years of a 10-year sentence for making lewd and indecent proposals to two 6-year-old boys when he was 18.
Rodreick lived rootlessly after his release, drifting from Oklahoma to his an aunt’s home in California. She kicked him out after just two months because, she said, he used her computer to access child porn. He returned to Oklahoma and became roomies with another ex-con a few years older than himself, Brian Nellis. Nellis had done 3 years for lewd molestation. The two pedophiles allegedly worked as a team to observe and attract little boys, lurking around playgrounds and schools in their spare time. At some point, one or both men came up with the idea of having the youthful-looking Neil, then in his mid-20s, pose as a kid.
Rodreick first tested this out at a church in El Reno, Oklahoma, pretending to be a 12-year-old named Casey. The ruse was successful; he befriended at least two young boys, spending the night at one child’s house and taking a trip to the Grand Canyon with an 11-year-old under the supervision of his “Uncle Brian”. He allegedly molested this boy.
In 2005, the duo came under investigation by El Reno police when their computer was repossessed and the new owner found a huge cache of child pornography on the hard drive; 150 videos and over 1,000 images were recovered.
By the time Lieutenant Van Gillock learned about the church imposture, Rodreick and Nellis were already on the road. They had convinced Lonnie Stiffler to take them in. Rodreick had been communicating online with Stiffler and his companion, Robert Snow, for a couple of years. They had been trolling for young boys on the ‘Net, and Rodreick presented himself to them as a preteen boy. Stiffler sent money to Rodreick on several occasions.
To this day, it isn’t known if Stiffler and Snow realized the “boy” they lured to Arizona with his “cousin Brian” was really a grown man, or if they were fully aware of his age and planned to use him as bait to lure actual kids. Though Stiffler had no record of sex offenses, Snow had one conviction in California.
Rodreick and Nellis set up housekeeping with the two older men, and they all agreed to pose as a family. Neil entered into a sexual threesome with Stiffler and Snow.
Shortly after their arrival, Neil enrolled as Casey Price at the Shelby School in Payson. He was a student there for 21 days. He tried to enter a Prescott Valley school before being enrolled at Imagine Charter School by an “uncle”. He would later be charged with assaulting one girl at this school.
After his expulsion, someone made the fateful decision to enroll him in the Chino Valley school, where his smooth face didn’t pass muster and his wonky transcripts immediately raised suspicions.
When they were arrested, Stiffler and Snow both expressed outrage and shock that Neil wasn’t really a kid. They professed to believe he was a parentless boy.
Little is known of Neil Rodreick’s real background. His California aunt has told reporters he was molested as a child, and his mother died when he was 14.
All four men were arrested and slapped with numerous charges, including fraud and failing to register as sex offenders. Child porn was found in the house they shared.
Rodreick pled guilty to child exploitation, assault, failure to register as a sexual offender, and fraud. Last year, he received the maximum sentence of 70.5 years. Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lindberg commented that he should have been given an even longer one.