Texas Teen Sex Trafficked from Dallas Mavericks Found in OKC

Eight people have been arrested in connection to a human trafficking investigation into the disappearance of a 15-year-old Texas lady from a Dallas Mavericks recreation she was attending along with her father final month.

The sufferer’s and her household’s legal professional, Zeke Fortenberry of Fortenberry PLLC, mentioned in a press launch that the kid was present in a resort in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 18 – eleven days after her disappearance – and was reunited along with her household. Fortenberry withheld his shoppers’ names.

Fox News stories:

The Oklahoma City Police Department [OKCPD] has arrested Saniya Alexander, Melissa Wheeler, Chevaun Gibson, Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes, Karen Gonzales, Thalia Gibson and Steven Hill in connection to the trafficking case. Gibson is charged with providing to interact in prostitution; Nelson, Hayes and Gonzales are charged with human trafficking and distribution of kid pornography; Hill is charged with rape; Gibson and Alexander have felony warrants; and Wheeler has a theft warrant.

The sufferer had not been positioned when Nelson, Gonzales, and Hayes had been arrested,  OKCPD Captain Valerie Littlejohn instructed KDFW. Once the sufferer was positioned, “five other people, somehow in relation throughout the investigation, were arrested,” she added.

In the press launch, Fortenberry mentioned that the lady and her father attended the Mavericks recreation on April 8 on the American Airlines Center (AAC) in Dallas, TX. As the primary half of the sport neared an finish, the lady went to the restroom however by no means returned to her seat, prompting her father to begin in search of her. His daughter was nowhere to be discovered, so he alerted the sector’s safety and Dallas police of her disappearance and was directed to go house when she was not positioned by the sport’s finish, the discharge said.

Surveillance footage allegedly displayed a person exiting the sector with the lady, KDFW mentioned.

Fortenberry mentioned an individual – who the basketball group and enviornment perceive to be a faux ticket vendor – is believed to have bought a false ticket to the person who allegedly lured the teenager after making contact along with her in part of the sector his ticket didn’t grant him entry to.

The household reached out to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) time and time once more within the following days for assist in discovering the 15-year-old, however Fortenberry mentioned the division failed to begin an investigation.

Per Fox News:

The DPD instructed Fox News Digital that an officer on the April 8 Mavericks recreation was notified of the 15-year-old’s disappearance and searched the occasion and placement that night time. Beyond that, the division pointed to Texas Family Code (51.03 b. 3), which “dictates that missing juveniles are investigated as runaways unless there are circumstances which appear as involuntary such as a kidnapping or abduction.”

“Those cases per code are to be filed where the juvenile resides,” the division mentioned. “A report was generated by Dallas Police and Dallas Police assisted the North Richland Hills Police Department (lead agency as that was where the teen resided) and a bulletin about the missing teen was created and went out to the department on April 11, 2022.”

“My daughter went missing in the city of Dallas, this is a Dallas case, but they refused to open a case for her,” the daddy mentioned within the launch. 

Fortenberry famous that the household turned to the nonprofit group Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative (TXCTI) to assist discover the teenager after changing into dismayed by the DPD’s “lack of effort.” The nonprofit helped to find a web site that had lewd pictures of the sufferer displaying she was being marketed as a prostitute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Fortenberry mentioned. TXCTI notified the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD), which instantly launched an investigation into the matter. The OKCPD’s investigation led to an Extended Stay America resort within the metropolis the place the 15-year-old lady was being stored, and he or she was subsequently recovered and reunited along with her dad and mom, Fortenberry mentioned.

The legal professional alleged the Extended Stay America resort didn’t acknowledge obvious indicators of trafficking, including {that a} registered intercourse offender allegedly rented a number of resort rooms utilizing false identification. 

“We are thankful for the work of the Oklahoma City Police Department and the recovery of our daughter,” the kid’s mom said. “My heart breaks for the unimaginable things my daughter had to endure for the 11 days she was taken, and I am so glad she is safe as we work towards her recovery.”

“The systems and organizations involved in this case continually failed the victim,” Fortenberry mentioned in an announcement. 

He continued: 

She ought to by no means have had contact with the person on the Mavericks recreation. The Dallas Police ought to have labored shortly to analyze leads and find {the teenager} earlier than she was trafficked to Oklahoma. The Extended Stay America resort in Oklahoma City put earnings forward of individuals by turning a blind eye to the sexual exploitation occurring proper earlier than their eyes. This sufferer’s life will without end be modified.

“We hope to hold accountable those responsible and create change within these organizations so that this never happens to any other child,” he concluded. 

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