An Orange County man was arrested and faces federal charges for allegedly stalking a professional videogamer for several years.
Evan Baltierra, 29, of Trabuco Canyon, was arrested by FBI agents Monday afternoon and appeared in United States District Court in Santa Ana Tuesday.
According to court documents, Baltierra “orchestrated a campaign of harassment targeting the victim, her boyfriend, her friends and her boyfriend’s family.”
The United States Department of Justice identified the victim as a Canadian woman who is a prominent pro gamer known in the “World of Warcraft” community. The video game is a long-running multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of users.
In 2019, the unidentified victim traveled to Anaheim to attend the annual gaming convention BlizzCon. She met Baltierra for the first time during an in-person meet-and-greet with her fans at the Anaheim Convention Center, the DOJ said.
At one point, Baltierra allegedly asked the woman if she would be his “valentine,” which she politely declined because she had a boyfriend. He also asked if he could visit her in Canada, an offer she also turned down.
In June 2020, the victim learned that Baltierra was actively trying to figure out her home address. In response, the DOJ said, she blocked him on social media and removed him as a moderator from her streaming channel.
The victim told investigators that Baltierra continued to harass her through private messages on various social media platforms. He also allegedly contacted her boyfriend and colleagues, threatening them and the victim with violence.
Despite the lack of communication between Baltierra and the victim, the harassment continued. Investigators say Baltierra created online profiles that displayed altered images of the victim, including images edited with Photoshop in which her face was edited into pornography. He then sent some of those images to her friends, family, and posted them on internet chat rooms, according to court documents.
In February 2021, a temporary restraining order was put in place and Baltierra signed an agreement promising to stop the online harassment. Despite the restraining order, the abuse went on and he continued to stalk the victim.
In March, law enforcement officers served a search warrant at his home and seized several items of evidence, including a thumb drive that contained the photoshopped nude images, the DOJ said. His phone was also recovered which had evidence of the multiple email accounts he was using to send harassing messages.
On Tuesday, Baltierra was charged with one count of stalking. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, the DOJ said.
The case remains under investigation by the FBI.