A Houston teenager took her own life Saturday morning, two years after family says she was drugged and sold to sex traffickers.
“She died in my arms,” her father, Mariano Serrano, told local station KTBC of his 15-year-old daughter’s tragic death.
Letty Serrano barricaded herself in the bathroom Saturday morning as her desperate father tried to reach her, but he would be too late.
The teen’s death is a tragic end for a girl who was once described by her godmother as a “good student” who got good grades until her family said she caught the attention of a sex trafficker.
“She was the perfect target for them,” Cynthia Rivera told the station, saying the teen had also been “kind of a loner” and had been struggling after the death of her brother when she was targeted by the man.
Her family said when the teen was just 13 years old, she was drugged and sold to sex traffickers, local ABC affiliate KTRK reports.
Her family searched for the teen for days. Eventually, they found her, but the girl who returned home was never the same as the one who had vanished.
“We got her back damaged,” Rivera said.
The man who her family believes took her was arrested — but later released just a short time later, KTBC reports.
Her family believes Serrano was torn between the man who trafficked her and her family — even running away again on two different occasions to be with him.
“She wanted to be with him,” Mariano Serrano told KTBC. “But, she also didn’t want to hurt her family.”
Letty's family is now hoping to raise awareness about the devastating cost of sex trafficking and seek justice for the teen.
“I want to see him in court,” Mariano Serrano told the station. “I want to tell him it’s his fault my daughter is dead.”
Houston Police Commander Jim Dale said he plans to look into re-opening the case.
“She was a victim and somehow her cries fell through the cracks and I think that’s why it’s so imperative that we get the schools involved,” he told KTBC of efforts to increase education about sex trafficking dangers in local schools.
Serrano’s family is now planning her funeral.
“The family deserves justice and peace of mind that her death is not in vain,” Rivera said.
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