Eight people have been arrested for allegedly trafficking a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped at a basketball game and taken out of state, as the victim’s family claims they had to locate their daughter on their own when Dallas police said did not initiate any investigations.
The girl, who could not be identified, was abducted on April 8 while going to the bathroom at the American Airlines Center in Dallas while watching a Dallas Mavericks game with her family.
She was eventually found about 200 miles away in Oklahoma City 10 days later after her parents sought the help of the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative (TXCTI) to locate their missing daughter.
The anti-human trafficking nonprofit found nude photos of the 15-year-old girl on a prostitution website, prompting Oklahoma City police to search an Extended Stay America Hotel on April 18.
There they found the girl in a room with convicted sex offender Kenneth Nelson, according to authorities.
On Friday, Oklahoma police arrested eight people who have since been charged with child trafficking crimes.
They are: Saniya Alexander, Melissa Wheeler, Chevaun Gibson, Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes, Karen Gonzales, Thalia Gibson and Steven Hill.
According to an affidavit obtained by KFOR, Ms Gonzales is accused of taking the girl’s nude photos, which were posted online, and charged with human trafficking and the distribution of child pornography
Ms. Hayes and Ms. Gonzales face the same charges.
Ms Gibson is accused of offering to engage in prostitution and Mr Hill is charged with rape.
Now that the teen is back home, her family is demanding answers from the Dallas Police Department as they allegedly asked officers to open an investigation once she disappeared from the game.
Despite their pleas and the nature of their disappearance, family attorney Zeke Fortenberry said Friday that the department was not investigating because of Texas Family Code laws that consider missing youths to be runaways.
Instead, the family claims they had no choice but to contact the nonprofit to help them locate the missing teenager.
In a Fox News statement, Mr Fortenberry asked questions about the systems used by Dallas Police and the American Airlines Center – and said more could have been done to find the 15-year-old girl sooner.
“The systems and organizations involved in this case have failed the victim time and time again,” the attorney said.
“She should never have had contact with the man at the Mavericks game.
“Dallas police should have worked quickly to investigate leads and locate the teen before she was smuggled into Oklahoma.”
The victim’s father said, “My daughter went missing in Dallas, this is a Dallas case, but they have refused to open a case for her.”
This was announced by the Dallas police The Independent that missing youth are identified as outliers, unless there are “involuntary” circumstances.
The statement said that on April 11 – three days after her abduction – a complaint was filed and a bulletin was sent to the department about the missing teenager.
“On April 8, 2022, an off-duty Dallas Police Officer in charge of the Dallas Mavericks game was notified of a missing person at the game. The event and location were searched that evening,” the statement said.
“The Texas Family Code (51.03 b.3) requires that missing juveniles be investigated as runaways except in circumstances that appear involuntary, such as kidnapping or kidnapping. These Code cases are to be filed where the juvenile is located.
“A report was prepared by the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Police Department assisted the North Richland Hills Police Department (lead agency as the teenager resided there) and a bulletin on the missing teenager was prepared and sent to the department on April 11, 2022 sent.” .
The Independent has reached out to the American Airlines Center for comment.
Meanwhile, the girl’s family said they are grateful to Oklahoma officials who rescued their daughter from the suspected traffickers.
“We are grateful for the work of the Oklahoma City Police Department and our daughter’s recovery,” the girl’s family said in a statement earlier this month.
“My heart breaks for the unimaginable things my daughter has endured over the 11 days she was kidnapped and I’m so glad she is safe while we work towards her recovery.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/mavericks-girl-trafficked-arrests-b2084277.html The family is demanding answers as eight people have been arrested for smuggling a teenage girl from Dallas to Oklahoma from an NBA game