Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —
A traffic stop led to the rescue of a teen sex slave, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and she may have been exploited for years.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with the deputy who offered to help the girl. He said she was his daughter’s age.
“That day was probably the most rewarding day of my interdiction career,” Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Paquette said.
Paquette said a Georgia state trooper called him and his partner for backup Wednesday on Interstate 20 at a traffic stop. He didn't dream when he took the call that he'd help free a 17-year-old from sex-trafficking bondage.
“She gave me a look that I'll never forget. I'll never forget that as a parent, for a child to look at you and ask you for help, that's my job,” Paquette said.
He said the girl was with Johnathan Nathaniel Kelly, and they were heading west toward Atlanta. While the trooper dealt with Kelly, Paquette said he noticed indicators he'd been trained to look for by the GBI's child sex trafficking unit, so he called an agent assigned to the area.
“She actually made the comment on the way to the hospital, she felt like God had answered her prayers and that she had prayed to be rescued,” GBI Agent Renea Green told Winne.
Green and another agent, Sara Thomas, said they believe the girl was sexually exploited before age 12. She had been with Kelly at first voluntarily but against her will since November, and there was at least one pimp before, the agents said.
“He used the relationship that he had with her,” Thomas said.
She said Kelly, who is from Decatur, maintained he never forced the girl to do anything, but he has been transported to Richmond County to face charges.