A 15-year-old teenager who went to a Dallas Mavericks game with her dad, became part of a living nightmare when she went to the restroom and never came back, only later to be found through nude advertisements for sex trafficking online in Oklahoma City by her terrified parents.
The North Texas teenager disappeared on April 8th at the American Airlines Center. The girl was caught on surveillance video leaving with a man. She was missing for 11 days.
On April 18, police found the girl in a room at the Extended Stay America hotel where she had been repeatedly sold and sexually abused. The hotel is over 200 miles from where she was taken, WFAA reported.
A lawsuit has been filed by the family against a number of organizations over the incident. They claim it could have been stopped but wasn’t.
“She was gone missing a total of 11 days,” attorney Zeke Fortenberry told WFAA. He is representing the family in their lawsuit.
The attorney issued a statement that named the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Police Department, and the American Airlines Center as groups that could have potentially intervened to prevent the abduction but didn’t.
The father attempted to file a missing person’s report with the police according to Fortenberry. He was told to contact the North Richland Hills Police where he lives and then was told to go home. When he contacted the North Richland Hills Police, they claimed they could not help because the incident occurred in Dallas.
“The family was frustrated,” Fortenberry noted. “After days of not getting any information from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Police not taking any action, the family sought out the help of this agency in Houston.”
They found their daughter with help from the human trafficking agency Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative in Houston which used facial-recognition technology according to WFAA.
“That agency was able to help them locate the photograph of their daughter online within the same day,” the attorney commented.
The girl was rescued by the Oklahoma City Police. Eight people who were involved in her abduction and trafficking were arrested. They were charged with human trafficking, distribution of child pornography, and rape.
Fortenberry reported that the Dallas police didn’t even request a photo of the girl.
The police defensively stated that they had searched the arena for the girl and had sent the law enforcement code that explained their actions to the parents that night.
“Texas Family Code(51.03 b. 3) 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 police said.
According to the North Richland Hills Police, they entered the information on the missing teenager into the national missing person database within a few hours of receiving the report.
The attorney claims that the police did not do enough to rescue the girl, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“Any time she could have been rescued from that sooner would have been better,” he charged concerning the number of times the girl was allegedly raped.
Fortenberry also went after the hotel where the assaults took place.
“When a 40-something-year-old man walks in with a 15-year-old girl and rents multiple hotel rooms and then there is traffic coming in and out of those rooms, those are red flags,” he pointed out.
The attorney claimed the abductor attended the game with a fake ticket sold to him by a scalper.
“The Dallas Mavericks and the AAC failed to protect the victim from the man with the illegal ticket in a restricted area,” Fortenberry said.BPR