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North Texas teen who went missing from Mavs game was advertised and sold for sex, authorities say

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Leroy N. Soetoro

May 12, 2022, 6:34:33 PM5/12/22

DALLAS, Texas -- On April 8, a 15-year-old girl from North Richland Hills
went to a Dallas Mavericks game with her dad at the American Airlines

She went to the bathroom right before halftime.

She never made it back to her seat.

Surveillance footage showed video of her leaving the arena with a man that

A week and a half later, on April 18, police found the teen in a hotel
room in Oklahoma City after her parents identified her through nude photos
that had been posted online in sex advertisements.

"She was gone missing a total of 11 days," attorney Zeke Fortenberry told

Fortenberry is representing the family in the ongoing case. Last week, he
sent a letter to multiple parties he believes could have done things
differently in the situation, possibly even preventing the situation from

"Our intent is to put (these organizations) on notice that we're pursuing
claims against them for their negligence and other causes of action,"
Fortenberry said.

In the release sent out by Fortenberry's office late last week, American
Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Police Department and
the Oklahoma City hotel where the teen was found were all listed as
parties that could have prevented the situation.

Fortenberry said the teen's father notified police at the game when he
realized she was missing. But, according to Fortenberry, the father was
told to report it to North Richland Hills Police, since that's where he

The father said he was then told to go home.

He said he called North Richland Hills Police that night. Fortenberry said
NRH police weren't able to help because, they said, the incident happened
in Dallas.

"The family was frustrated," Fortenberry said. "After days of not getting
any information from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Police not
taking any action, the family sought out the help of this agency in

Fortenberry said the Houston-based human trafficking agency Texas Counter-
Trafficking Initiative was able to use their face-recognition technology
to help break open the case.

"That agency was able to help them locate the photograph of their daughter
online within the same day," Fortenberry said.

That agency then contacted Oklahoma City Police, which is the agency that
found the missing teen and arrested eight people in connection to the

"The Dallas Police Department never asked for a photo of the daughter,"
Fortenberry said.

In response to a request from WFAA, Dallas Police confirmed that an off-
duty officer who was working the game on April 8 was notified that the
teen was missing.

The department said the arena was searched, and shared this about protocol
for these situations: "Texas Family Code(51.03 b. 3) dictates that missing
juveniles are investigated as runaways unless there are circumstances
which appear as involuntary such as a kidnapping or abduction. Those cases
per code are to be filed where the juvenile resides."

North Richland Hills Police confirmed to WFAA that they received the
report about the missing teen at 1:27 a.m., about six hours after the game
started. The department said the teen was entered in the national missing
person database by 3:24 a.m. on April 9.

Dallas Police said they helped North Richland Hills PD and created a
bulletin for the missing teen that went out to the department on April 11.

Fortenberry said those efforts weren't enough.

"This girl was being sexually assaulted in a hotel room multiple nights,"
Fortenberry said. "Any time she could have been rescued from that sooner
would have been better."

Fortenberry is also targeting the hotel where the teen was found because,
he said, there are multiple signs staff should have picked up on that
indicated she was in danger.

"When a 40-something year old man walks in with a 15-year-old girl and
rents multiple hotel rooms and then there is traffic coming in and out of
those rooms, those are red flags," Fortenberry said.

Additionally, the letter was sent to the AAC and the Dallas Mavericks --
because, according to Fortenberry, the man the teen left with got into the
game with a fake ticket that was sold to him by someone known by both
organizations for selling fake tickets.

The Mavericks organization has not responded to a request for comment from

But, on April 20, after the girl was found, the team released the
following statement in conjunction with their arena: "The American
Airlines Center (and the Dallas Mavericks) are grateful that the teenager
has been found. Both entities will continue to cooperate with local and
regional law enforcement on this case."

Fortenberry said he has not yet received a response from any of the
parties to whom he sent the letter. But he said he hopes to hear back
within the next month, so the situation can be settled without a lawsuit.

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