NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office is investigating after photographs depicting nude women who appeared to be at a spa were discovered during a search warrant execution.
Deputies searched a home in the 1000 block of Rivers Arch in Carrollton as part of an ongoing investigation into child pornography and a man named Gregory Wacks. While searching his phone, investigators say they found the photos, which showed women possibly receiving spray tans.
One of the women in the photos was identified. She told investigators that she received a spray tan at a spa in Newport News after responding to a Groupon and was not aware she was being recorded.
The business was operated by a romantic interest of Wacks, investigators say. "It concerns us based on the activity that we know that Mr. Wacks and the individual here were involved with," said Lt. Tommy Potter, chief investigator in the sheriff's office.
The business is called "A Polished Life." It used to operate out of a building on Pilot House Road, but started leasing space out of a yoga studio called Knot So Zen in Newport News about six months ago. The business owners say the spray tan operation was completely separate from their business.
Potter says some of the victims could be under 18. "Unfortunately, individuals put their trust in this operator of this service and they were taken advantage of. That's what brought us here today to execute this search warrant," Potter said.
Knot So Zen released a statement to News 3 reporter Brendan Ponton:
Knot So Zen rented use of its facilities to Michelle Putnam, owner of A Polished Life, from December 2018 to June 13, 2019. Ms. Putnam and A Polished Life maintained a contractual agreement to comply with all local and federal laws and regulations, as well as maintaining the highest standards of client care. Knot So Zen is disgusted by the news of this incident and is fully cooperating with all law enforcement entities to aid in the investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this ordeal. We wish to assure clients that Michelle Putnam of A Polished Life ended her contract with Knot So Zen in June of 2019 and is no longer affiliated with the studio. All clients are welcome to inspect changing areas, massage areas, and spray tan areas to ensure their comfort and confidentiality. Knot So Zen is a sacred space and our client’s mental and physical safety is our utmost priority.
The sheriff's office said while they still need to know who got a spray tan at the locations, they have interviewed the owners of Knot So Zen and "feel confident they had no knowledge this was taking place at this business." Officials say Putnam rented the space from them as an independent contractor.
The woman has not been charged at this time, so News 3 is not naming her.
The sheriff's office would like to identify further possible victims, and asks that anyone who received a promotional flyer or used a Groupon to receive a spray tan at the following locations call investigators at 757-357-6126.
This is a developing story.