3 arrested in ‘most severe and disturbing’ human trafficking case in Natchitoches
POSTED: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 3:40pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 1:00pm
Natchitoches Parish (NBC33) — WARNING: Some of the information in this story may be graphic.
Three people have been arrested in connection with what some are calling “the most ‘severe and disturbing’ case of Human Trafficking ever investigated in Natchitoches Parish.”
According to a statement on the NPSO website, the investigation into this case began Saturday, May 31, around 11:11 p.m. An Assistant Town Marshal contacted NPSO and stated that he saw a female with a logging chain around her neck with a bucket attached to it at a business near Interstate 49 and University Parkway.
Early in the investigation, deputies learned that the victim had been held captive for several days, chained outside and inside of a bulding in the 500 block of Dick Anderson Road near Ajax, LA. In northwest Natchitoches Parish.
At some point during her captivity, the victim was able to free herself and take one of her captor’s vehicles. She then drove to Natchitoches, where she encountered local authorities.
The victim, suffering with many cuts and bruises, was taken to a hospital. Natchitoches City Firemen removed the logging chain from her neck.
After being treated at the hospital, the victim was placed in protective custody.
As the investigation progressed NPSO called on the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit to assist with the case.
Further investigation reveled that the victim (an out of state resident) met the Ajax couple identified as David Rodriguez Jr. and Christina Marie Harper online several months ago. The victim had arranged to voluntarily move into the couple’s home.
Rodriguez drove to the victim’s out-of-state residence and helped her move. While living with the couple, Rodriguez reportedly enslaved the woman. Rodriguez allegedly made the woman give up all her money and her motorcycle to him.
Rodriguez also tattooed a barcode on the woman and registered her online as a slave.
The victim was given a list of daily chores, including serving meals, taking care of animals, leveling dirt for a swimming pool, installing a pool, digging trenches, removing fallen trees, and performing sexual acts. If she failed to complete any of her duties, she would be beaten by Rodriguez, Harper, and a third person, Ambre Lomas. The punishment also included carving initials onto her body, tazing, and throwing urine on her.
When the victim told her captors she wanted to leave, they chained her in the woods, and later inside of a building, where they fed her once a day.
On June 4, detectives executed a search warrant at the couple's home, which resulted in the seizure of 15 firearms, a stun gun, four computers, 2-tablet computers, three external hard drives, one digital camera, one digital video camera, and an IPod.
Two teenagers, 15 and 16, were removed from the home and placed in state custody.
On Wednesday morning, June 4, all three suspects turned themselves in to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
As a result of the investigation, deputies arrested:
David Rodriguez Jr., 37, of Pleasant Hill, LA: charged with 1-count of Human Trafficking, 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery, 1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 2-counts of Offenses against Computer Users. His bond is Bond set at $635.000 dollars.
Christina Marie Harper, 39, of Pleasant Hill, LA: charged with 1-count of Human Trafficking, 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery, 1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 2-counts of Offenses against Computer Users. Her bond set at $635,000 dollars.
Ambre Tubbs Lomas, 39, of Shreveport, LA: charged with 1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery.
Bond set at $525,000 dollars.
All three suspects remain in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.