LAKE WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Police officers in Lake Worth rescued missing 14-year-old girl they said was drugged and sexually trafficked.
A suspect, Jesse Lee Manuel, 50, is in custody charged with Trafficking a Child to Engage in Sexual Conduct (First Degree Felony), Delivery of a Controlled Substance to a Minor (Second Degree Felony), and Sexual Assault of a Child (Second Degree Felony).READ MORE: Texas Officer Dies After Crash With 18-Wheeler While Responding To Emergency
He is currently being held at the Tarrant County Jail on $90,000 bond.
“We grieve for this beautiful young lady, commit to pursuing justice on her behalf, and vow to relentlessly pursue those who commit atrocities like this against our country’s children,” the department said in a news release Tuesday, June 15.
Lake Worth Police said on Wednesday, June 9, officers received information regarding the whereabouts of a missing 14-year-old girl.
The girl was reported missing by the Dallas Police Department on June 5.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., on June 9, Lake Worth officers arrived at the Great Western Inn located at 5930 Lake Worth Boulevard, where they found the girl in a room with Manuel.
Officers rescued the girl and detained Manuel on suspicion of harboring a runaway.READ MORE: Padel Players Try Out For US National Team In Dallas
However, once separated from him, the 14-year-old girl “made an outcry to officers” indicating she had been trafficked, drugged with methamphetamine, and sexually assaulted.
The child was reunited with her family and received medical treatment at a local hospital.
Manuel was taken to the Lake Worth Police Department for questioning by Detectives while a search warrant was obtained for the hotel room.
As a result of the search, multiple pieces of evidence were recovered from the room.
The Lake Worth Police Department said in a statement:
In the days and weeks to come, the Lake Worth Police Department will be working with Alliance for Children, Tarrant County’s Child Advocacy Center, to further the investigation. As a part of that process, Alliance for Children’s Multi-Disciplinary Team will take the lead in coordinating care and healing services for the victim. Meanwhile, criminal investigators from the Lake Worth Police Department will continue to build the case against Manuel in preparation for trial.MORE NEWS: Over 250 Guns Surrendered To DeSoto Police During Saturday Event
This case serves as a sobering reminder that human trafficking is real and is affecting our precious children at unprecedented rates. The Lake Worth Police Department stands shoulder to shoulder with federal, state, and local partners, as well as responsible adults everywhere, to end atrocities like this one.