[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Well, this is a pretty shocking turn of events…
Back in May we reported on the upsetting case of a teenage girl who was abducted by sex traffickers from a Dallas Mavericks game. The then-15-year-old teen was attending the NBA event with her father but went to use the restroom alone — and never returned to her seat. That was April 8.
For several days law enforcement gave the family the runaround, with Dallas police telling her father to report the disappearance to his local police back in North Richland Hills Police — despite the fact she’d just gone missing in town — and North Richland Hills Police telling him it was Dallas PD’s case.
Ultimately the young woman was found — not by police but by the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative, who used facial recognition software to identify nude photos of her in online sex ads. She had been taken by sex traffickers and was being kept in a motel in Oklahoma City where police finally tracked her down.
It was a truly awful story, but it was over, right? The girl was found, and the people who took her were taken down. In fact, a whole sex trafficking ring was busted up, with eight individuals charged.
Sadly it isn’t over yet. And probably never will be for Natalee.
That’s the girl’s name. Her parents kept that from the public until now to protect her. But now they’re putting out as much info as possible — including photos (above) — because they need help finding her as she’s gone missing yet again.
Apparently, the now-16-year-old was being taken care of at a residential treatment center in Layton City, Utah when she left of her own accord — and vanished. According to authorities, she “suffered a triggering event related to recent trauma and fled the facility.”
Family attorney Zeke Fortenberry said in a statement:
“Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for young victims who have suffered a serious traumatic event such as sex trafficking. The mental anguish she endured while being trafficked is something she will have to work through for the rest of her life.”
Natalee’s parents are asking anyone for any help they can give in finding her again. She was last seen wearing “a gray shirt, shorts, and black socks with no shoes on”. Her father told ABC4:
“I’m asking for people to help us look for her. Be aware of your surroundings, look around and see if you notice her, even the smallest clue or piece of information may be helpful to the authorities.”
Natalee’s mother added:
“I’m worried about her. She has been through so much. I just want her to be found safely. I love her with all my heart and will not give up looking for her until she is found.”
Anyone with any information at all is being asked to contact the Layton City Police Department at (801) 497-8300. Everyone else is being asked to spread the message to #FindNatalee on social media.
Such a heartbreaking twist. We just hope she’s brought home safely before anything else traumatic happens to her.
[Image via Layton City Police Department.]