DALLAS, TX – In April, a 15-year-old girl was abducted after going to the restroom at an NBA game in Dallas. Eleven days later, with little help from local authorities, the young girl was located in Oklahoma City, where she was reportedly sex trafficked by her abductors. Now the victim’s family is demanding answers over the inaction and failures of local authorities.
Back on April 8th, the 15-year-old girl was with her father at the Dallas Mavericks game taking place at the American Airlines Center. At some point during the game, the young girl went to go use the restroom – and never returned.
According to the attorney representing the family, Zeke Fortenberry, the girl’s father notified the police who were at the American Airlines Center about his missing daughter. However, the victim’s father was told by the officers that he needed to report the incident to North Richland Hills Police, as that is where he resides.
That same evening, the father contacted North Richland Hills Police to report that his daughter was missing and was given the runaround again – with North Richland Hills Police telling the father he needed to report the incident to Dallas Police since the incident transpired there.
Apparently, the Dallas Police didn’t even ask for a photo of the missing girl when the incident was reported to them.
Fortenberry says the family became “frustrated” over the entire dilemma, saying, “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.”
The Houston-based agency in question was one that specialized in human trafficking matters, dubbed the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative. On the same day the family connected with the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative, the agency was able to locate the young girl’s image online through facial recognition technology.
And the online images in question were reportedly nude photographs of the victim, featured on a website where the child was being advertised for sex trafficking purposes out of Oklahoma City.
On April 18th, Oklahoma City Police found the abducted teen at a hotel where she was being trafficked out of, with police arresting eight individuals connected to the case.
Fortenberry informed multiple parties, including the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Police Department, and the Oklahoma City hotel, of the family’s intention to pursue claims against perceived acts of negligence in the case.
“This girl was being sexually assaulted in a hotel room multiple nights. Any time she could have been rescued from that sooner would have been better.”
With respect to the hotel being named in the suit, Fortenberry claims that there were multiple red flags that hotel staff should’ve picked up on while the victim was being trafficked out of their business.
“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.”