MORENO VALLEY: 3 accused of kidnapping girl, forcing her into prostitution

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Two people who authorities say kidnapped a 15-year-old girl near the Moreno Valley Mall last year and forced her into prostitution for two months in San Bernardino County and the Coachella Valley were arrested Wednesday, May 4.

A third suspect, accused of raping the girl when she failed to make enough money, remains at large. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 31-year-old Dejuan Darsean Lewis. Sheriff’s officials say anyone who knows where he might be should call 911 for immediate law enforcement assistance.

The arrests follow a seven-month-long investigation that started after the girl escaped and, through counseling and therapy, was able to disclose details about her ordeal to the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

Authorities believe there may be more victims in the case, and ask that anyone with information contact Senior District Attorney Investigator Ian Anderson at 951-955-1700 or [email protected]

The girl was walking near the mall in March 2015 when Lewis and 27-year-old Brandon Deonte Ellison of Palm Desert abducted her, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

The kidnappers brought the girl to an apartment on California Drive in Palm Desert. There, the release said, she was photographed, and the pictures were later used in online advertisements. The girl was taught to be a prostitute by another prostitute, Ashley Nicole Gonzalez, the release said.

The girl was given a daily quota and beaten or sexually assaulted by Lewis when she failed to make a certain amount of money, the release said. She stayed because she was afraid of the men, who she told authorities beat her and threatened to hunt her down if she escaped.

Over the next two months, the girl was trafficked in Indio, Palm Springs, Rancho Cucamonga and Colton, the release said.

In May 2015, she finally was able to escape, the release said without going into detail. As she received counseling and was able to talk about what happened, the investigation began.

Citing the sensitive nature of the case and the fact that the investigation is ongoing, sheriff’s officials declined to say more about the circumstances of the girl’s kidnapping, how she escaped or anything else beyond what was in the news release.

Close to a year after the girl’s escape, on Wednesday, May 4, the task force served a search warrant in the 77100 block of California Drive in Palm Desert.

Ellison was arrested on suspicion of felony kidnapping to commit robbery, according to jail records. He was taken to the Indio Jail and doesn’t have the option of bail.

Gonzalez, 24, was taken into custody by the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, the release said. She was arrested on suspicion of trafficking a minor and brought to the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley, jail records show. Her bail was set at $250,000.

Lewis is wanted on suspicion of of abducting a minor for purposes of prostitution, pimping a minor and human trafficking of a minor. He is described as 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos on his neck, chest and arms, and a $ symbol next to his left ear.


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