Eight arrested for trafficking teenage girl at Dallas Mavericks Games

Eight people have been arrested on charges of trafficking a teenage girl who went missing during a Dallas Mavericks game, Oklahoma authorities say.

The unidentified teenage girl disappeared from a basketball game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas with her family on April 8.

She was discovered on April 18, after a 10-day search in Oklahoma City, about 206 miles north of Dallas, Texas.

It came after the Texas Anti-Trafficking Initiative (TXCTI) found pictures of a 15-year-old boy on a prostitution website in Oklahoma City. Fox News reported

The girl’s parents called the center for help shortly after the girl’s disappearance.

On Friday, Oklahoma City police reported the arrest of eight people charged with crimes including trafficking in children and attempted distribution of child pornography.

They are Saniya Alexander, Melissa Wheeler, Chevaun Gibson, Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes, Karen Gonzales, Thalia Gibson and Steven Hill.

The girl’s family said in a statement earlier this month, “Thanks to the Oklahoma City Police Department for their hard work and for her daughter’s recovery.” “It’s heartbreaking to see her daughter go through the unimaginable during the 11 days she was kidnapped, and I’m so glad she’s safe while trying to recover.”

In a statement on Friday, family attorney Zeke Fortenberry questioned the system used by Dallas police and the American Airlines Center and said more could be done.

“The systems and organizations involved in this case continue to disappoint the victims,” ​​the defense attorney said. “She should have 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.”

Dallas Police said in a statement independent: “On April 8, 2022, an off-duty Dallas Police Officer serving at the Dallas Mavericks game was reported missing during a match. I searched for events and places that evening.

“The Texas Family Law (51.03 b. 3) requires that missing youth be investigated as runaways, unless in involuntary circumstances, such as abduction or kidnapping. Corresponding cases by code must be submitted where the youth resides.

“A report was created in which the Dallas Police and Dallas Police supported 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.” .

independent American Airlines Center has been contacted for comment.

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