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Press Release

Four Defendants Sentenced to More Than 60 Years Collectively in Federal Prison for Crimes Related to Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina
Convictions Come as a Result of Multi-State, Multi-Agency Investigation Involving Defendants in South Carolina and Arizona

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA — Four Defendants have been sentenced to federal prison for conduct related to a multi-state child sex trafficking and exploitation scheme.

Specifically, the following Defendants have been sentenced:

  • Hart William Grow, 26, of Surprise, Arizona, has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for child sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of a separate minor.
  • Theodore Woolings Bye, III, 37, of Myrtle Beach, has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for the sexual exploitation of a minor.
  • Sanadin Mohamed Elrayes, 28, of Surfside Beach, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for transferring obscene material – video of him having sexual intercourse with a minor.
  • Charles Joseph Spillane, 44, of Myrtle Beach, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for transferring obscene material – video of him having sexual intercourse with a minor.

“Using the internet, these Defendants engineered and executed crimes that involved sexual acts against a child. This was vile behavior, and the children of South Carolina are safer with these predators off the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis.  “I hope the victims can move forward with their lives, and this Office’s Victim Witness Coordinator remains available to aid in this healing. I commend the excellent work of our federal, state, and local partners. However, our work is one small part of what it takes to combat sexual exploitation of children. Parents and guardians need to be vigilant and monitor their children’s online activity. This case highlights that through technology, any child, anywhere, can become a victim.”

“This case underscores the importance of online safety; these predators used the internet to help them victimize innocent children. Thankfully, they are facing justice for their despicable actions,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees  HSI operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “Protecting our most vulnerable populations from exploitation is one of HSI’s most important missions and we are fortunate to have great working relationships with our law enforcement partners that provide us invaluable assistance in these cases.”

“The success of this case was the result of many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together,” said South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Capt. Connie Sonnefeld, “These law enforcement officers are dedicated to fighting human trafficking in South Carolina and throughout the country.  SLED is proud to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to support survivors and ensure criminals who prey on our most vulnerable are brought to justice.”

"We as a community have no greater responsibility than to protect our children and law enforcement will always stand up for those that need help,” said Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock. “This case was a partnership built on that mission and we couldn't be more proud of the team that brought those charged and those sentenced to justice."

Evidence presented to the Court showed that Grow, from his home in Arizona and through the internet, misrepresented to various minors across the country that he was also a minor and was interested in a relationship.  A search of Grow’s electronic devices revealed images of, or sexual conversations with, at least 23 individuals confirmed to be minors, and hundreds of other images, videos, and contacts with individuals who appeared to be minors.  Further, at least one of the social media accounts from which Grow engineered his sexual exploitation of children was registered in 2016 from an address associated with Grow, and the account has been active since that time.

In this case, Grow allegedly claimed to the first minor victim that he was a 17-year-old female named “Hannah” living in Columbia, South Carolina. After gaining her trust and collecting sexually explicit videos, Grow forced the minor victim into sex trafficking. In sexually trafficking the minor victim and aware of her, Grow initially posted images on message boards offering the minor victim up to adult males for sex in exchange for the adult males actively engaging in the production of videos of the sexual acts, and ensuring those videos were sent to Grow.

Among the first customers was Bye, who became infatuated with the minor victim and began acting as the middleman for Grow. Although Bye knew the minor victim’s age, he would make sexually explicit videos of the minor victim. He would also arrange for men to have sex with her in exchange for the men agreeing to engage in the production of sexually explicit videos to be sent to Grow. The minor victim lived with her parents in Myrtle Beach, and Grow and Bye would traffic her while her parents were away or were asleep down the hall.

Both Elrayes and Spillane responded to Bye’s internet postings and, after communicating with Bye via social media and text messages, engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the minor victim, which was filmed and sent to Grow.

Additionally, in early 2021, after Grow had trafficked the first minor victim, he began communicating with a second minor victim in the Midlands area of South Carolina. Again, Grow used a false persona to build a relationship with the second minor victim, and ultimately forced her to produce sexually explicit videos for him until shortly before his arrest in Arizona. At Grow’s direction, the videos of the second minor victim were often unknowingly and covertly filmed near her parents or other family members.

According to Court records, the Defendants used social media applications, including Snapchat, Wattpad, and Kik to communicate with the victims and with each other. 

United States District Judge Sherri A. Lydon sentenced Grow to 327 months imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime of court-ordered supervision; Bye to 293 months imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime of court-ordered supervision; Elrayes to 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision; and Spillane to 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. Grow and Bye will be required to register as sex offenders for life and were also ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), SLED, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, and the Myrtle Beach Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorneys Derek A. Shoemake and Amy Bower prosecuted the case.



Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982

Updated June 24, 2022

Project Safe Childhood