The St. Louis teen, whose present age is being reported as being between 17 and 19 years, managed to escape her captors on Tuesday with the help of a relative. She had allegedly been kept in the Washington Park, Illinois home against her will and used as a sex slave for more than two years. Washington Park is just outside St. Louis, Missouri.
Accounts differ as to exactly how long she was held and her exact age at the time she was forced to remain in the home.
The girl told police she was beaten and sexually assaulted almost on a daily basis. She also said she had escaped on on other occasions but had been captured and taken back to the home at gunpoint.
The Belleville News Democrat
reports a 25-member SWAT team stormed the house around 5:30 p.m. yesterday. Two people, a man and a woman, were taken into custody. As of early Friday morning, the pair had not been formally charged. Police will not release the suspects' names until formal charges, expected later today, are brought. They are believed to be a 24-year-old man and his mother.
Police also removed a 16-year-old boy and a two-year-old child from the house. The teenage boy was allegedly wearing a school uniform when the raid took place. Both are now in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Police believe the teen is the mother of the toddler and the child was fathered by the male captor.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
reports the then 15-year-old was reported missing on April 6, 2010. Police confirm that a missing person/juvenile runaway report was filed with the St. Louis Police Department on that day. It is not known how long the teen had been missing prior to her absence being reported to the authorities.
Washington Park Police Chief David Clark believes the woman who was taken into custody assisted her son in keeping the teen captive. Both the mother and son forced the teen to give a false names to doctors when she was pregnant and when she gave birth to her son. The mother is also accused of allegedly keeping the teen in the house.
A neighbour, Lakeitha Smith, told the media she had seen the teen but never observed anything suspicious. She is quoted in the Daily Mail
as saying, "I used to see her come out of the house, back and forth. I didn't think she was being held hostage."
It is not known how the St. Louis teen first came into contact with her alleged captors.