MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Jungle resident investigated for trafficking teen runaway

Feb 2, 2017, 5:52 AM

jungle resident...

A 16-year-old girl was trafficked by a resident of the "Jungle." (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

A man living in one of Seattle’s unauthorized homeless encampments is being investigated for allegedly raping and trafficking a teenager, KIRO 7 has learned.

Related: Introducing ‘The Triangle’, Seattle’s new ‘Jungle’

The 16-year old girl is a runaway from New Jersey. The alleged attacker is still at large.

Her disappearance was featured in a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Facebook page alert and also on the New Jersey State Police website for missing children.

According to investigative documents filed by a Seattle Police Department detective in King County Superior Court, the girl took a Greyhound bus from the East Coast to Seattle in November, and was “traded, sold and raped” while living in at least two of Seattle’s homeless encampments: the one near the Greyhound Station on South Royal Brougham, and the one between South Dearborn Street and I-90.

A large tent at the Dearborn site is what the SPD detective filed a warrant to search, looking for the gun the girl said a man used to threaten her repeatedly when she tried to leave.

According to police documents, investigators started working the case in early January when a confidential informant reported “a juvenile was living in the homeless encampment referred to as the “Jungle” and that the girl was “working as a prostitute” for the suspect. When a safety check was done at the South Dearborn encampment earlier this month, the missing New Jersey teen was recovered.

She told investigators when she tried to leave, the suspect pointed a “gun at her, threatening her and telling her she could not.”

Allynn Ruth lives near the Dearborn encampment. She told KIRO 7 on Wednesday the alleged sex trafficking of a teen runaway is disturbing from a public safety standpoint.

“Being homeless is an unfortunate situation,” she said, “but you don’t get a pass in committing and visiting mayhem on other people because you’re homeless.”

The police document was dated in early January and authorized detectives to search the suspect’s tent within 10 days, but investigators haven’t commented on what they might have found. The Seattle Police Department declined to comment on the investigation other than saying the alleged attacker is still at large.

Meanwhile, the website posts featuring the missing New Jersey girl have been removed indicating the child is no longer missing. The Seattle Police Department also wouldn’t confirm whether the girl has been returned to New Jersey.

MyNorthwest News

Trump convention speech...

STEVE PEOPLES, JONATHAN J. COOPER and JILL COLVIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Trump: ‘The discord and division in our society must be healed’

Donald Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination on Thursday at the Republican National Convention and said the country must 'heal.'

2 hours ago

Image: A Tacoma Police Department vehicle is seen on a street....

Steve Coogan

Human finger found in Tacoma driveway IDed, returned to owner

The case of a mysterious human finger found in a Tacoma driveway earlier this month has been solved and the digit was returned to its owner.

5 hours ago

Photo: Police are looking for a Tacoma serial arsonist after a rash of fires. This photo is of a fi...

James Lynch

Tacoma police looking for serial arsonist after rash of fires endanger lives, property

Tacoma police are currently searching for a serial arsonist after a rash of fires in the area endangered lives and property.

6 hours ago

Photo: This man was arrested in connection with a Kent attempted kidnapping on July 16, 2024....

Julia Dallas

Bail set: 11-year-old girls save 6-year-old from being kidnapped in Kent

A man was arrested and bail set for allegedly trying to kidnap a 6-year-old. Fortunately, three 11-year-old girls stepped in.

7 hours ago

Photo: Data from the Downtown Seattle Association confirmed visitors are coming back to downtown, f...

Julia Dallas

Visitors are filling downtown Seattle streets near pre-pandemic levels

Data from the Downtown Seattle Association confirmed visitors are coming back to downtown, filling the streets at levels close to 2019.

9 hours ago

Photo: Teens were caught allegedly robbing a 7-Eleven in Renton on July 18, 2024....

Julia Dallas

4 teens arrested in connection with Renton 7-Eleven robbery

Four teenagers were arrested in connection with the robbery of a 7-Eleven in Renton early Thursday morning.

10 hours ago

Jungle resident investigated for trafficking teen runaway