A Marion County teen missing for nearly a year was used as a “sex slave” in a sex trafficking ring operating out of a St. Petersburg trailer, investigators said.
Investigators with the St. Petersburg Police Department said six people were arrested in the case on Monday, and the final suspect turned himself in to police Tuesday morning.
According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the suspects allegedly moved the boy into a filthy trailer, covered in animal filth, to live with four men.
"The teenage victim in this case was lured from his family with promises of a better life. Instead he was moved into a filthy trailer and used a sex slave for nearly a year," said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.
So far Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Michael Schwartz, Michael Blasdel, JR Gauthier, Eleanor McGlamory and Curtis Gruwell are charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Blasdel and Gauthier are also charged with sexual battery.
Police said suspect Curtis Gruwell turned himself in Tuesday morning.
Investigators said Mark and Andrew Dennis went to Marion County to pick up the teen. Police said his mother found a note from her son saying not to look for him.
Investigators said they believe the group also lured another teen from Louisiana to Florida using a gaming app called "Discord."
Neighbors in St. Petersburg said they didn’t notice anything suspicious happening at the trailer.
“It’s kind of unnerving to know that, it really is, right next door because we didn't see anything. All we saw was people coming in and out,” said neighbor Lois White.
Police said the boy from Louisiana has returned home, and the victim from Marion County is receiving specialized care design for victims of human trafficking.
The suspect we were looking for in the human trafficking case is in custody. Curtis Gruwell turned himself in to #stpetepd this morning.— St. Pete Police (@StPetePD) January 15, 2019
He’s charged w conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. pic.twitter.com/aHM9ZD88kA
About the Author