VASSALBORO (AP) – The investigation into the case of a man accused of serially abusing a girl and posting the video online began with a complaint to the FBI by authorities in Brisbane, Australia, and stretched all the way to Maine before ending with an arrest this week in Georgia.

Dawn Ego of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit gets much of the credit for tracking down the accused abuser by looking for clues from the online images like bed linens, a bow made from ribbon seen hanging on a wall, and the interior of a vehicle that turned out to be a Pontiac Aztek.

Maine State Police Sgt. Glenn Lang described a sense of euphoria when Ego cracked the case by tracking down a motel where some of the abuse took place, leading to Monday’s arrest of tennis coach James Bartholomew Huskey at his home in LaFayette, Ga.

Maine investigators learned that evening that Huskey was behind bars and the 9-year-old victim was safe. Huskey’s two children were taken into protective custody.

“We rarely get to actually participate in saving a child,” said Lang, who noted that the task force usually examines computer hard drives after the fact. “It’s so exhilarating to get on the front end of it. It’s probably the best feeling in the world.”

The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit joined the investigation in response to a May 23 bulletin to Internet Crimes Against Children units around the country, a federally funded program. The Maine Computer Crimes Unit participates in the program.

The Maine team began analyzing 1,800 still photos and video images for clues, and Ego zeroed in on images that appeared to have been taken in a hotel room.

“She was like a pit bull on this thing,” Lang said. “She just went after it with a tenacity like you rarely see.”

Ego narrowed the location down 17 mostly southeastern states based after finding the manufacturer of a bow made from ribbon that was seen hanging on one of the walls. Then she succeeded in identifying the manufacturer of some of the bedding in another piece of footage.

The clues led to the Jameson Inn in Carrollton, Ga., where a hotel employee recalled a man who paid cash for a room on the date the video was taken, July 21, 2007.

The employee was able to root around in the hotel’s attic and find a photocopy of the man’s driver’s license, which was made when he registered. All of the pieces fit together. The Aztek, for example, was registered to a woman who shares Huskey’s home, authorities said.

“We wanted to open up the windows and scream for joy,” Ego said.

Ego passed the information on to the FBI. That night, Lang called her at home and said the FBI was planning to try and rescue the girl. At 11:15 p.m., he called to say the girl was safe.

“He said ‘She’s been rescued, she’s safe and he’s been arrested,”‘ Ego said.

Once under arrest, Huskey confessed to the assaults and the victim confirmed that Huskey had been raping her for four years, starting when she was 5 years old, authorities said.

The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit began in 1999 as the computer crimes task force. The unit is partially funded by the state and through a grant from the Department of Justice under its Internet Crimes Against Children initiative, Lang said.

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