Colin Macdonell


A yearlong investigation into the distribution of illicit images depicting children culminated Thursday morning in the arrest of a Mountain View man.

MVPD officers used a warrant to gain access to Colin Macdonell’s home and apprehended the 49-year-old without incident, according to a department press release. The charges against him include “obtaining and possessing child sexual abuse material.” Now detectives are in the process of combing through electronic devices and more than a dozen social media accounts belonging to Macdonell to determine whether he might be responsible for additional crimes.

The investigation started in August 2020 when a tipster contacted the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a national program independent from but partially funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. The tipster directed task force team members to a handful of pornographic photos involving children, the release stated, and they traced the material to Macdonell. Because the suspect resides in Mountain View, the task force referred the case to the MVPD.

MVPD’s Cyber and Financial Crime and Crimes Against Persons units collected evidence for a month before they had enough to obtain the search warrant, according to the release.