Pineville Police: Human Trafficking Suspects Committed “Unspeakable” Violent Acts Against Victims
PINEVILLE, NC — Detectives with the Pineville Police Department have arrested and charged two suspects accused of human trafficking from two area hotels.
Thomas Miller and Shakeeta Adams were both arrested Friday after a three week long investigation by Pineville authorities.
Police say the suspects were holding a woman and her two children, ages six and eight-years-old, against their will at two local hotels, the Comfort Suites on Centrum Parkway and the Quality Suites on Pineville-Matthews Road. On August 27th, she reportedly managed to escape and called for help at a nearby Christian book store.
While being held captive, police say the victim was forced into sexual acts with random men. If she failed to meet a certain financial quota, Miller would allegedly abuse her physically and mentally using “unspeakable” violent acts.
Punishments included verbal abuse, belt beatings, being held under an ice and water bath while being strangled, and being burned or branded with a hot wire coat hanger, according to reports.
Investigators say these acts were often carried out in front of her children, who also received belt beatings on multiple occasions. Police say there were never any sex crimes however, committed against the children.
During the investigation, police say they also learned hotels throughout the area, including the Comfort and Quality Suites, have been training their staff on the warning signs of possible Human Trafficking.
Miller may have avoided detection by hotel staff however, due to paid lookouts police say he hired to watch the rooms.
Pineville Police Department said in a release Friday afternoon, “It is important to recognize the initiative that has been taken by the Pineville hotels in getting their staff trained on this serious crime and that it won’t be tolerated here. Human Trafficking in Pineville is extremely rare, and by having extra eyes and ears of hotel staff who are trained to spot this, amplifies the dedication taken to protect their hotel guests and to keep their safety as a paramount.”
Investigators believe more victims of Miller and Adams may be out there, and ask that they please come forward.
“We also want them to know that there is help out there for them,” says Pineville Police Department. “Our victim in this case and her children have a long road of physical and mental recovery ahead of them. Our victim has been very brave in coming forward and we hope that if there are more victims out there, then they too will be inspired to come forward.”
Anyone with information about this case, or additional victims are asked to call the Pineville Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 704-889-2231.