Missing area girl named in Amber Alert safe;
suspect, 16, in custody
BELLMEAD, TX – An 11-year-old Bellmead girl who was the focus of an Amber Alert early Monday morning is safe and the 16-year-old girl with whom she was found is in custody and facing a kidnapping charge.
Katelynn Maldonado was reported missing at around 1:30 a.m. Monday from her family’s home.
Bellmead police issued the alert, identifying the suspect as a 16-year-old Crawford girl who had stolen her grandmother’s 2012 Kia Sorento and had picked up Maldonado “sometime in the middle of the night.”
The two girls know each other through social media and have met once in person at a social event, Bellmead police Lt. Kory Martin said Monday.
The Kia in which the two girls were riding was spotted at around 7:30 a.m. and officers found the two in the 4400 block of Michigan Street, near the 11-year-old girl’s home, Martin said.
Maldonado was reunited with her parents and the 16-year-old was taken to the Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center, facing kidnapping and unauthorized use of a vehicle charges, Martin said.
The girl’s father, Kasey Maldonado, says another of his daughters woke him up early Monday to tell him Katelynn was gone.
“We were just scared to death,” he said.
Katelynn was at home resting late Monday, he said.
She wasn’t hurt, but is “just very, very upset,” he said.
AG’s Office, Jefferson County DA Bob Wortham Obtain Conviction, 60-Year Prison Sentence in Sex Trafficking Case Involving Women and Underage Victims
AUSTIN, TX – As a result of a joint effort by his office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a jury found Johnny Ray Matlock guilty on charges of continuous trafficking of persons, a first-degree felony. Matlock waived his right to appeal and accepted a 60-year prison sentence, which is the equivalent of a life sentence in Texas.
Attorney General Paxton’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, led by Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Melton, was invited by District Attorney Wortham to partner with his office on Jefferson County’s first human trafficking case. Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Pipkin worked with Melton on the trial.
“This collaboration between my office and the district attorney’s office in Jefferson County is an outstanding example of how we’re fighting to ensure that justice is served upon those who commit the despicable crime of sex trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I want to thank the prosecutors and law enforcement agents for their efforts on this investigation to put away a despicable human trafficker.”
Last March, a grand jury indicted Matlock, of Silsbee, on charges he used social media and apps to recruit two underage girls and two women, causing them to be victims of sex trafficking. In court today, Matlock also agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of possession of a firearm. A 10-year sentence for that will run concurrently with his sentence on human trafficking.
In July, a joint effort by the attorney general’s human trafficking unit, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety culminated in a 40-year prison sentence for the trafficker of a 14-year-old girl.
Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority. Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state. In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering. The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.
by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®
Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day. Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.
Review the four rules of personal safety with your children. Remind them to:
Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you. It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.
Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help. Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.
If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.
Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride. Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.
Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.
Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them. If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.
Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information. Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.
Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.
Bond Reduced For Two Illinois Men Charged
With Kidnapping Olive Branch Teen Lured
MEMPHIS, TN – An Olive Branch, Mississippi judge reduced bonds for two Illinois men accused of kidnapping a teenager earlier this month.
30-year-old Juan Andrade and 29-year-old Jason St. Aubin are charged with kidnapping and conspiracy for taking a 14-year-old boy from his home. They both had $600,000 bonds until Tuesday. The bond for Jason St. Aubin was reduced to $500,000. Juan Andrade’s bond is now $300,000.
“That was just an agreement taking into account the appropriate circumstances, under the rules of criminal procedure,” says prosecutor Luke Williamson.
Olive Branch Police say the two Illinois men charged with conspiracy and kidnapping could face additional charges. Local authorities along with the FBI are still gathering evidence.
Police believe the suspects used a video gaming messaging app to lure an Olive Branch, Mississippi teen from his home earlier this month. The boy is safe, but the case is far from over.
“This is an ongoing investigation and does involve coordination with other agencies and so it is still in progress,” says Williamson.
The mothers of both suspects were in court Tuesday, but they didn’t talk to the media.
Once the investigation is done, the case will go to the grand jury who will then decide if the two men should be indicted on the charges against them.
AG Paxton’s Office, Travis County DA
Margaret Moore Obtain Conviction
in Child Sex Trafficking Case
AUSTIN, TX – Resulting from a joint effort by his office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a Travis County District Court sentenced Kedrick Nelms, 28, to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.
On June 20, a Travis County jury found Nelms guilty of trafficking of persons and of compelling prostitution of a minor, both first-degree felonies. Nelms opted to have the judge determine his punishment.
The attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, led by Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Melton and Assistant Attorney General Melissa Holman, assisted the prosecution of the case at the invitation of Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore. They were joined at the trial by Travis County Assistant District Attorney Josh Reno.
The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Nelms.
“As a result of this successful, first-of-its-kind partnership between my office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, a dangerous and despicable human trafficker has been brought to justice,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I’m grateful to the prosecutors and our law enforcement partners for their tireless work on this collaborative effort. My office will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”
Travis County District Attorney Moore said: “I commend the attorney general and his assistants for this outstanding prosecution. I am proud to have partnered in this exemplary collaboration.”
Nelms used a social media app called Tagged to lure his underage victim into a relationship, then introduced her to his girlfriend, Kirsten Violette, who conspired with Nelms to traffick the girl for prostitution in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio in June 2016.
It took a jury one hour to return guilty verdicts on both charges against Nelms.
Separately, Violette pleaded guilty this week to trafficking of persons and faces a punishment hearing in August.
Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority. Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state.
In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering.
The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Paxton unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity.