3 arrested in "severe and disturbing" case of human trafficking

By Nikki Henderson | nhenderson@ktalnews.tv, Nancy Cook | ncook@ktalnews.tv

Published 06/05 2014 04:39PM

Updated 06/06 2014 11:54AM

Three people – two women and one man – are behind bars in Natchitoches Parish after being arrested for what Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. called “the most severe and disturbing” case of human trafficking ever investigated in Natchitoches Parish.

David Rodriquez Jr., 37,  and Christina Marie Harper, 39, both of the 500 block of Dick Anderson Road, Pleasant Hill, La. and Ambre Tubbs Lomas, 39, of the 6700 block of Jefferson Paige in Shreveport were all booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center Wednesday.

The arrests were a culmination of a joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s and  District Attorney’s Offices and the Louisiana State Police.

The investigation began just after 11 p.m. Saturday (May 31, 2014) when the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a Robeline assistant City Marshal.  He reported he had come in contact with a female attached to a logging chain around her and a bucket at a business near the Intersections of Interstate-49 and University Parkway (La. Hwy 6 West) near Natchitoches.

Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to the scene.

During the initial stages of the investigation, detectives learned the victim had been held captive, chained outside and inside a building against her will for several days. The building, the victim reported, was located in northwest Natchitoches Parish in the 500 block of Dick Anderson Road, near Ajax, La.

While being held captive, the victim was able to free herself enough to take one of the suspects’ vehicles, driving it to Natchitoches.

NPSO deputies transported the victim to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center  suffering from numerous lacerations and bruises to the body. The logging chain around the victim was removed by Natchitoches City Firemen.

After the victim was treated and released from the hospital, NPSO detectives placed the victim in protective custody.

As the investigation progressed, NPSO detectives summoned the assistance of the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit to help in the investigation.

During the course of the investigation, investigators learned the victim, an out of state resident,  initially met a Ajax couple identified as David Rodriguez Jr. and Christina Marie Harper online.

She agreed to voluntarily move into their home several months ago. Rodriguez actually drove to the victim’s out-of-state residence and assisted her in packing and moving to his residence. 

Investigators learned that while living with the couple, the victim became enslaved by Rodriguez.  Allegedly, he made the victim turn over all cash and relinquish ownership of a 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle to him.  Soon afterwards, the victim was allegedly tattooed by Rodriguez with a tattoo registering her as a slave on a website.

The victim was given a list of daily chores to complete by Rodriquez, “her master,” which included serving meals, drinks, taking care of animals, leveling dirt for a swimming pool, installing a swimming pool, digging trenches, removal of fallen trees and performing sexual acts.

 Detectives also learned if the victim failed to perform any assigned duties, she was subjected to beatings and discipline by Rodriguez, Harper, and a third person identified  as Lomas, also participated in sadistic treatment of the victim, subjecting her to beatings, carving initials into undisclosed areas of her body, tazing her, throwing urine on her.

 At some point, the beatings and discipline became so severe, the victim told Rodriguez  she wanted to leave, which resulted in her captors chaining her outside in the woods, later moving her into a building where she was fed once a day and given limited water and urine to drink.

On Wednesday (June 4), detectives executed a search warrant on the residence in the 500 block of Dick Anderson Road, according to Greg Dunn, NPSO chief investigator. That search resulted in the seizure of 15 firearms, a stun gun, four computers, two-tablet computers, three external hard drives, one digital camera, one digital video camera and an Ipod.

Two children in the residence, ages 15 and 16 were removed by the State Office of Child Protective Services.

Sheriff Jones said detectives, Louisiana State Police and members of the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office spent hours putting this case together, obtaining sufficient evidence and probable cause to secure criminal warrants signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge.

On Wednesday morning June 4th at approximately 8:15am,  all three suspects involved in the investigation turned themselves in to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Charges against each suspect are listed below:

David Rodriguez Jr

One count each of Human Trafficking, Aggravated Second Degree Battery, Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment; and two-counts of Offenses against Computer Users.

Bond set at $635.000 dollars.

Christina Marie Harper, One count each of Human Trafficking, Aggravated Second Degree Battery, Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment; and two-counts of Offenses against Computer Users.

Bond set at $635,000 dollars.

Ambre Tubbs Lomas, 39, One count each of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and  Aggravated Second Degree Battery.

Bond set at $525,000 dollars.

All three suspects remain in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Jones expressed his appreciation to Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Van Kyzar, Colonel Michael D. Edmondson and the Louisiana State Police along with all of the NPSO Deputies that were involved in this intense investigation.

Involved in the investigation and arrests were:  Detective Tim Key, NPSO High Tech Crime Unit Detective Carey Etheredge, Chief Investigator Greg Dunn,  Deputy Amber Shirley, LSP Special Victims Unit Detective Amanda Fournier, and Assistant District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington.



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