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FBI Special Agents killed in South Florida spent careers fighting against child abuse

Special Agent Daniel Alfin, 36, and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, arrived at a Sunrise apartment expecting to continue their life's work.

SUNRISE, Fla. — Tuesday marked one of the bloodiest days in FBI history, after two agents were killed and three others were wounded during a standoff in South Florida. The special agents who arrived to an apartment complex in Sunrise that morning were continuing their life's work - fighting against the abuse of children. 

Special Agent Daniel Alfin, 36, and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, were killed at 6 a.m. while they attempted to serve a search warrant for a case involving violent crimes against children. FBI Director Christopher Wray said agents Alfin and Schwartzenberger "exemplified heroism." 

So, just who were Special Agent Daniel Alfin and Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger?

Daniel Alfin graduated from Florida State University in 2007 before joining the FBI 2 years later. He comes from a family filled with public servants, according to the Washington Post. Alfin's father told the Post that Daniel's older brother currently works in law enforcement in South Florida, and his youngest son is a teacher at New York's U.S. Military Academy. 

With the Bureau, Alfin handled cases that dealt with violent crimes against children. His biggest case came in 2015 when he was involved in the arrest of a Naples man who created what was believed to be the world's largest child pornography website - with more than 150,000 users worldwide. 

The site, named Playpen, allowed users to communicate anonymously and upload thousands of posts involving young children. The FBI called the investigation "unprecedented," opening the door for international cooperation in prosecuting child abusers around the world. They say, as a result of the case, nearly 900 arrests were made both domestically and internationally.

Laura Schwartzenberger began her career with the FBI in 2005 and worked in the Miami field office, handling violent crimes against children, according to court records. Schwartzenberger primarily focused on tracking offenders who sexually exploit children online.

CBS affiliate WPEC-TV spoke with her back in 2018 for an investigation on sex extortion.

Credit: WPEC
Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger

"Extortion is a form of exploitation in which the perpetrator uses coercion in which to obtain sexual images or videos, money, or even sex from the victim. The victim can be an adult, could be a teenager, or could be a child," Schwartzenberger said.

Alfini is survived by his wife and child. Schwartzenberger is survived by her husband and two children.

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