PINEVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Two people were arrested on multiple charges after investigators say they were involved in “unspeakable violent acts” against a woman in front of her children at two different hotels in Pineville.
During a three-week investigation into the alleged human trafficking activity, Pineville Police say an adult woman came forward asking for help for herself and her two children. Officials say the victim was being held against her will by Thomas Antione Miller, 26, and Shakeeta Lasha Adams, 25.
According to the report, the victim was being held at two different hotels - the Comfort Suites on Centrum Parkway and the Quality Suites on Pineville-Matthews Road - and forced into sexual acts with random men.
Investigators say Miller punished the victim if she failed to meet a certain financial quota. The punishments ranged from verbal abuse, beatings with a belt, the victim being held under ice water in the bathtub while being strangled, and being burned/branded with a hot wire coat hanger.
Police say the violence happened in front of the victim’s two children. Investigators say the children were “beaten as well with a belt at times,” but stressed there were no sex crimes committed against them.
Documents filed in court show the chilling details of how the pair allegedly gained control over the victim. Police say that Miller took the victim’s ID and social security card and told her “you work for me now” which developed into forcing her into prostitution. In other charging documents, police claim Miller assaulted the victim and threatened to kill her.
The report states that workers at both hotels had undergone training on how to spot the warning signs of human trafficking, and that the training played a role in rescuing the victim and her children.
Pineville Police say they feel there could be more victims involved in this case, and they are urging them to come forward and get help.
“We want those victims to come forward to us. We also want them to know that there is help out there for them,” police said. “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.”
As investigators search for more victims, Miller is sitting behind bars on multiple charges including human trafficking, sexual servitude, assault by strangulation, assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats. Adams is facing a simple assault charge.
Anyone with additional information - or any additional victims - are urged to call the Pineville Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 704-889-2231.