National News

Jul 3, 2014 5:35 AM by AP

FBI seeks victims of child rape after suspect dies

Matthew Coniglio's Georgia home held a trove of child pornography, more than 50,000 images and videos stored on laptops, external hard drives and thumb drives.

Among the stash, hidden in a bedside table turned around to conceal the doors, authorities made an even more horrifying discovery: 56 8-millimeter cassette tapes they say show him raping and molesting girls.

All were unconscious, apparently drugged, FBI Special Agent William Kirkconnell, who viewed the tapes, told The Associated Press. Some were so incapacitated they were snoring. The camera was always turned off before they awoke.

Many of the victims' faces cannot be clearly identified, so investigators don't know how many different girls were attacked. But each tape recorded at least one assault - some had more - in homes and hotels. The youngest victim appears to be about 10 years old.

As for the alleged perpetrator, a 46-year-old traveling salesman who worked and lived in cities across Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, "he often looks back at the camera and even speaks," Kirkconnell said. "There's no doubt it's Matthew Coniglio. None at all."

Who were these girls? Do they know what happened to them? Could there be other victims?

The FBI shared exclusive details of the case with AP in the hope that victims will step forward and can be offered help and counseling. The AP also uncovered other exclusive details of Coniglio's past and his previous encounters with the law.

Authorities' best chance for resolving the raft of unanswered questions vanished on April 20. Ten days after his arrest, Coniglio wrote goodbye letters to his parents, tied a cord to a vent above a sink in his jail cell and hanged himself in an apparent suicide.

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