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Friday, July 1, 2022
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Missing Texas Teen Found, Eight Arrested


Non-specific teenage girl sitting on the floor. | Image from Getty Images

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After a North Texas teen went missing from a Dallas Mavericks game and was located more than a week later in Oklahoma, eight people were arrested in Oklahoma City for several human trafficking charges.

The teen was at the American Airlines Center for an April 8 game when she went to the restroom but never returned, according to North Richland Hills Police.

The police department did not provide any other information about her abduction but did say she was a “missing endangered juvenile” on social media. On Monday, North Richland Hills Police told WFAA that the girl was eventually discovered safe in Oklahoma, but they did not say where.

She had left Texas with two males, according to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Gary Knight with the department said, “We later found out she was being sex trafficked online. We had pictures of her. We put those out there to the media, and that was going on here in Oklahoma City.”

“There’s no telling what they said to her,” said Dr. Tonya Stafford-Manning. “There’s no telling what they offered her, or if they had been communicating with her online.”

Oklahoma City Police detained eight suspects in connection with the girl’s disappearance on Wednesday, each facing accusations ranging from a felony warrant to human trafficking rape.

The following is a list of the eight people arrested in this case, along with their charges:

  • Saniya Alexander (Felony Warrant)
  • Thalia Gibson (Felony Warrant)
  • Melissa Wheeler (Robbery Warrant)
  • Chevaun Gibson (Offering to Engage – Prostitution)
  • Kenneth Nelson (Human Trafficking / Distribution of Child Porn)
  • Sarah Hayes (Human Trafficking / Distribution of Child Porn)
  • Karen Gonzales (Human Trafficking / Distribution of Child Porn)
  • Steven Hill (Rape II)

On April 14, Oklahoma City Police obtained details that a juvenile from the Dallas area was in Oklahoma City and “being trafficked for commercial sex purposes,” according to an arrest document obtained by WFAA. Images of the girl were found in an internet ad on a prostitution website.

According to the complaint, the police acquired search warrants for Kenneth Nelson’s rented rooms and were able to pinpoint the location of the pictures of the Texas teen.

In the arrest document, authorities identified Karen Gonzales as the one who allegedly took the images of the Texas teen. Sarah Hayes confirmed to investigators that she was there when the photographs were taken and that she later used them for the web ads.

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