Missing Massachusetts girl found in Utah; man arrested for alleged human trafficking
Feb 2, 2023, 5:05 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2023, 12:32 pm
ST. GEORGE, Utah — A missing and endangered girl from Massachusetts has been found in southern Utah and the man who police believe lured her away from her home — possibly to engage in prostitution — has been arrested.
Tevon Jarell Cullors-Tillman, 35, was arrested Wednesday for investigation of human trafficking for labor, drug possession with intent to distribute, child endangerment, harboring a runaway, drug possession, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and having an open container of alcohol in his car.
On Wednesday, Utah Highway Patrol troopers pulled over a vehicle on I-15 in Washington County for speeding and making an improper lane change in front of a larger vehicle. The trooper immediately smelled the odor of marijuana and saw an open container of alcohol in the car, according to a police booking affidavit.
However, the trooper became suspicious of additional criminal activity after confirming a teen girl in the car had given him a false name and birthdate. Troopers then learned the girl was listed as a missing/endangered child on a national law enforcement database.
The girl was taken to the Washington Children’s Justice Center for a follow-up interview.
“It was found Cullors-Tillman had been communicating with the juvenile victim online. He purchased her a bus ticket from Massachusetts to Denver. Cullors-Tillman then drove to Denver and picked her up in a rental car,” the affidavit states. “It was found the juvenile victim was completely dependent on and feared Cullors-Tillman would harm her or her family.”
The girl told police she thought they were headed to Las Vegas, but said Cullors-Tillman told her he had changed the plan and was going to California.
“The juvenile victim explained she had been subject to previous prostitution and (was told) she would be further involved in prostitution once arriving to Las Vegas,” the affidavit states.
On Thursday, the Utah Highway Patrol said its investigators were still looking into whether the girl had actually engaged in any prostitution while with Cullors-Tillman. The girl was in state protective custody on Thursday as police worked to reunite her with family members.