Attorney: Texas teen sex trafficked in Dallas Mavericks found in OKC


Eight people have been arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation into the disappearance of a 15-year-old Texas girl at a Dallas Mavericks game with her father last month.

Zeke Fortenberry of Fortenberry PLLC, attorney for victims and their families, said: said According to a press release, the child was found at a hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 18, 11 days after her disappearance, and was reunited with her family. Fortenberry did not disclose the customer’s name.

Fox News report:

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

Victims say they were unable to locate Nelson, Gonzales and Hayes when they were arrested, OKCPD Captain Valerie Littlejohn said KDFW. When the victim was found, she added, “during the investigation, five other people who were somehow related were arrested.”

In a press release, Fortenberry said the girl and her father attended the Mavericks game on April 8 at the American Airlines Center (AAC) in Dallas, Texas. Near the end of the first half of her game, the girl went to her bathroom and never returned to her seat, and her father started looking for her. She informed the stadium’s security and Dallas police of her disappearance as her daughter was nowhere to be found and she was instructed to return home when she could not find her daughter by the end of the game.

According to KDFW, surveillance footage showed a man leaving the stadium with a girl.

Fortenberry said the basketball organization and stadium believed that someone it knew as a counterfeit ticket seller did not sell tickets to men accused of luring teenagers on parts of the stadium. Give him access.

The family has repeatedly contacted the Dallas Police Department (DPD) for help in finding the 15-year-old boy, but Potenberg said police have failed to launch an investigation.

According to Fox News:

DPD told Fox News Digital that police officers were informed of the disappearance of a 15-year-old boy during a Mavericks game on April 8 and searched the case and location that night. In addition, the department pointed to the Texas Family Law (51.03 b. 3). This regulation stipulates that “disappearing juveniles are investigated as runaways unless they are in an involuntary situation such as abduction or kidnapping.”

The department said, “Corresponding cases by code must be submitted where the juvenile resides.” “A report was prepared by the Dallas Police and the Dallas Police to the North Richland Hills Police Department (where the youth lived), and a bulletin about the missing teenager was created and sent to the Police Department on April 11, 2022. “

“My daughter went missing in Dallas. This is a Dallas case. But they refused to open a case for her,” the father said on release.

Fortenberry said the family turned to the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative (TXCTI), a nonprofit organization, to help find teens after the family was disappointed with DPD’s “lack of effort.” The non-profit organization helped find a website in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with obscene photos of victims being advertised as prostitutes, Fortenberry said. TXCTI immediately launched an investigation into the matter with the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD). OKCPD’s investigation led to an Extended Stay America hotel in the city where the 15-year-old girl was imprisoned, after which she recovered and was reunited with her parents, Fortenberry said.

Lawyers allege that the Extended Stay America hotel did not recognize any obvious indicators of human trafficking, and that registered sex offenders used fake IDs to rent several hotel rooms.

The child’s mother said, “Thanks to the Oklahoma City Police Department for their hard work and for her daughter’s recovery.” She said, “It breaks my heart when her daughter went through the unimaginable during the 11 days she was kidnapped, and I’m so glad she’s safe while trying to recover.”

“The systems and organizations involved in this incident continue to fail the victim,” Potenberg said in a statement.

He continued:

She should’ve never had contact with that guy in a Mavericks game. Dallas police should have worked quickly to investigate her leads and find her teenager before she was trafficked to Oklahoma. The Extended Stay America hotel in Oklahoma City puts profits above people by blinding sexual exploitation to the fore. The lives of these victims will change forever.

“We want to hold the leaders accountable and make a difference within these organizations so that this doesn’t happen to other children,” he concluded.

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