Church worker in the Woodlands area arrested in child pornography investigation, neighbors react

A former employee and volunteer at a local Baptist church in The Woodlands area is accused of having thousands of videos and photos of child pornography. A multi-agency law enforcement operation on Tuesday in Conroe's Harper's Landing subdivision led to 46-year-old Thiago Modelli's arrest. 

Modelli was apprehended and charged with five counts of Possession of Child Pornography. Authorities executed a residential search warrant on his home on North Misty Canyon Place, where they reportedly discovered thousands of videos and images depicting sexual assault and child abuse. The investigation revealed that Modelli's residence was a frequent hangout for neighborhood children. Modelli does not have adolescent children of his own. 

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"When investigators were speaking to Modelli, he stated numerous kids would be over there," said Lt. Ken Washington. "They'd play video games. He had kids' toys. Sporting equipment. That's a huge concern when you find out the individual has access to them, and you have a charge of child pornography. 

The operation, led by Constable Ryan Gable's Criminal Investigations Division with support from several agencies including the Texas Department of Public Safety and local police departments, was part of an ongoing proactive investigation by Constable Gable's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Detective. 

"I felt like vomiting. I was disgusted," one parent in the neighborhood tells Fox 26. "They made it seem like such a chill, happy place. And that was not at all what was going on."

Neighbors report police were lined up on the block Tuesday morning, and officers were seen carrying laptops and computers out of the home. Parents tell FOX 26 Modelli would present an "open door policy" to neighborhood children of various ages, even sharing their garage door code with them.


Modelli posted a $150,000 bond Wednesday at the Montgomery County Jail.

"I am terrified. I am disgusted. I cannot believe that," said one mother. "They let him back in the neighborhood. We told our kids it’s safe now, he’s gone. And now he’s back. Now they’re not safe."

Authorities are asking parents of children who frequented this house to contact the Montogomery County Precinct 3 Costables' office at 281-364-4211 if they have any concerns. For further instructions, callers should mention the MODELLI case.