Joseph Mitchell Wernli

Joseph Mitchell Wernli

A man who was arrested in Coryell County the night before his scheduled appearance in Bell County to accept a plea deal on a similar felony child sex charge accusation was indicted by a Coryell County grand jury.

Joseph Mitchell Wernli, 20, was indicted last week on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

A Gatesville police officer was dispatched on March 25 to the department’s lobby in regards to a sexual assault of a minor, according to the arrest affidavit.

The officer made contact with a 15-year-old boy and his father. The victim told police that he met a man identified as “Joe” on Grindr, an app for gay and bisexual people, and began talking on March 11 on the phone and exchanging text messages, police said.

On March 16 and 17 the victim and the man known as “Joe” met in the 100 block of Watts Lane and engaged in sex.

“Joe” continued to send the victim text messages and photos that were sexual in nature.

The victim told police that “Joe” was returning to Gatesville to pick him up that night, but police were waiting and made a traffic stop on the vehicle and took “Joe,” then identified as Wernli, into custody, police said.

“When Wernli was informed of the charges he stated he did not know (the victim) was a minor,” according to the affidavit.

Wernli and another man are facing aggravated sexual assault of a child charges in Bell County, where they allegedly also used the Grindr app on Feb. 4, 2018, to find and then assault a 14-year-old boy in Killeen.

Also indicted, in unrelated incidents, were:

Stephen Dwayne Herring, 43, of Gatesville, on a charge of theft of property more than $2,500 but less than $30,000.

Aaron Shanon Crites, 35, on a charge of stalking.

Travis Latrail Davis, 30, of Killeen, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance penalty group two, more than 4 grams but less than 400 grams.

Terrance Damon Young, 36, of Killeen, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, less than 1 gram.

Isabel Sanchez, 20, of Temple, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, less than 1 gram.

Joelle Sezen Rogers, 20, of Grovetown, Ga., on a charge of theft of cattle, horse or exotic livestock, less than $150,000.

James Andrew Shelton, 35, of Temple, on a charge of violation of bond or protective order two times within one year.

John Anthony Dossey, 34, on a charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact.

Osheana Shemorrow Mitchell, 21, on a charge of theft of cattle, horse or exotic livestock, less than $150,000.

Ella Kamille Horn, 37, on a charge of manufacture or deliver a controlled substance penalty group one, more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams.

Alejandro James Pena, 25, on charges of possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams; and possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, less than 1 gram.

Robert Duane Estes IV, 28, of Copperas Cove, on two charges of theft of property more than $30,000 but less than $150,000.

Tyrell Reshard Washington, 24, of Copperas Cove, on a charge of theft of property more than $30,000 but less than $150,000.

Vinson Thomas III, 28, of Killeen, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams.

Steven Douglas Johnson, 47, of Copperas Cove, on a charge of tamper or fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair an investigation.

Nathaniel Lee Blair, 31, of Lampasas, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance penalty group one, less than 1 gram.

Crystalann Michell Garcia, 33, on a charge of driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years of age.

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