OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Newly-filed court documents are revealing the nature of a sex trafficking scheme in Oklahoma City involving a missing Texas teen found safe in the metro Monday. KFOR also uncovered some of the suspects’ involvement and their criminal history.
“These are very bad players we’re talking about,” said Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
It was April 8 when a 15-year-old girl was seen leaving a Dallas Mavericks basketball game with men.
“The family didn’t know who they were,” said Knight. “The girl did not check back in with her family.”
On April 14, Oklahoma City Police Department’s Vice Unit received tips from the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative that the teen was trafficked for sex purposes in Oklahoma City.
The 15-year-old’s nude photos were posted on a website known for prostitution on April 14.
Police stated Karen Gonzales, Sarah Hayes, and Kenneth Nelson were all involved.
“A number of these people played a role in getting this girl trafficked for sex, whether it was taking pictures as one of them did or simply placing ads as another one did,” said Knight.
Court documents revealed the teen was in the company of one of the suspects, convicted sexual predator Kenneth Melson, and he was in a hotel with the victim the same day her naked pictures were posted online.
KFOR dug deeper into Nelson’s criminal background.
According to an Illinois Sex Offender website, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old when he was 15-years-old. Nelson was also convicted in Oklahoma City for failure to register as a sex offender last May.
“This girl is a juvenile, and she was in the company of sex traffickers,” said Knight. “And that raises red flags and alarms in our minds.”
According to a probable cause affidavit, Karen Gonzales was the person taking pictures of the teen undressed and posting them online. She was taken into custody in the 800 block of South Macarthur Blvd on April 15.
“There were several people involved with not only this girl, but others,” said Knight. “But we did everything we could to find this girl.”
Knight told KFOR the victim is alive and doing well.
“Thankfully, we were able to get them off the streets before they had the chance to do this to somebody else,” said Knight.
Authorities have not released information involving Sarah Hayes’ arrest.