Eight people have been arrested in Oklahoma in connection with a report of a missing 15-year-old girl from North Richland Hills police who was allegedly sex-trafficked.
North Richland Hills investigators confirmed to NBC 5 on Tuesday that the girl attended a Dallas Mavericks game on April 8 and after getting up from her seat to use the restroom on her own, she never returned .
“She apparently left with two men from there,” Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department said Tuesday. “We later found out she was being sex-trafficked online. We had pictures of her. We released them to the media and it was here at OKC.”
Knight, an Oklahoma City Police Department public information officer, said investigators spent days trying to locate her.
“We renewed our appeal to the public yesterday through the news media,” he said. “It is important to note that there is no indication at this time that this was a kidnapping where someone is grabbed and thrown into a vehicle or anything like that. It is not known exactly why she went with those men, but there were apparently two people she went with to the basketball game.”
KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City picked up the story of the missing girl and shared her photos, which police say led to a warning to viewers that she had been seen in an apartment complex.
“If something seems out of place, it doesn’t have to go through the length of your child’s disappearance…but if something seems out of place, err on the side of caution and call 911. Let’s take a look. look,” Chevalier added.
The police followed the lead and found the missing teenager. Eight people were arrested, including Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes and Karen Gonzales, all of whom were charged with human trafficking and distributing child pornography. The other five people were arrested on outstanding warrants, charges of rape or prostitution. Details of these arrests are below.
- Saniya Alexander (criminal warrant)
- Melissa Wheeler (robbery warrant)
- Chevaun Gibsion (Offer to get engaged – Prostitution)
- Kenneth Nelson (human trafficking/distribution of child pornography)
- Sarah Hayes (human trafficking/distribution of child pornography)
- Karen Gonzales (Human Trafficking/Distribution of Child Pornography)
- Thalia Gibson (felony warrant)
- Steven Hill (Rape II)
Because the teenager is both underage and apparently a victim of sex trafficking, her name and photo have been withheld from this story.