The 15-year-old girl who was trafficked after being kidnapped from a Dallas Mavericks game last year is well on her way to getting justice.
In case you need a refresher, back in April the unnamed now 16-year-old went to use a restroom before halftime of the game she had attended with her father. Surveillance footage showed the teen leaving the American Airlines Center, but not with anyone she knew — her dad was left waiting for his daughter to return to her seat. The teen became a sex trafficking victim after she went missing — her captors made money putting nude photos of her online.
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Luckily, she was found 10 days later in Oklahoma City, mostly unharmed. In a disturbing series of events, the parents of the young girl identified their daughter by the nude photos that were taken of her, which directly helped police find her. It’s wonderful she was found before it was too late, but still, she and her family going through trauma like that is heartbreaking…
Eight people were arrested relating to her disappearance on a variety of charges — including human trafficking, conspiracy, and computer crimes. Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes, and Karen Gonzales were among those arrested. Police alleged Nelson, who is a known sex offender, had an ID card with a different name that he was using to rent the hotel rooms in Oklahoma City, Gonzales was accused of taking the nude photos of the teen, and Hayes apparently confessed later to police that she saw the photos being taken and later posted them in the online sex ads.
But what about the person who lured her away from the game to begin with? Well, police finally named a suspect and made an arrest.
Emanuel Cartagena, 35, (pictured above in the CCTV) was arrested on Thursday due to an outstanding warrant of sexual assault on a child. The Dallas Police Department and US Marshals Task Force allege he’s the man who met the then-15-year-old outside the AAC and lured her away from the arena. Police are also saying he took the girl to a house in Dallas and sexually assaulted her before she was eventually found 10 days later. Just sickening!
The family’s attorney, Zeke Fortenberry, says the teenager is still recovering and struggling with the trauma she faces from being a victim of sexual abuse.
Thankfully the victim is able to continue to recover as she awaits justice. Our hearts go out to her and her family.