A mother in Columbia, Missouri has been accused of sex trafficking her disabled daughter, with police alleging she traded sex with the 14-year-old for cocaine and cash.
Renee Collins, 49, was charged on August 21 with second-degree trafficking of a child and first-degree child endangerment, according to Fox Carolina, a Greenville, South Carolina-based Fox affiliate. Her boyfriend, 44-year-old William Thomas Jr., has been charged with first-degree rape of the child.
The girl, who is unnamed in reports as she is a minor, had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism, and she is partially deaf.
Court documents estimate her intellectual capacities to be that of a 3-year-old.
She was taken into protective custody on July 7 2017, the same day an investigation into the case began.
Police were alerted to the situation by Brittnii George, a regional manager of The Welcome Inn hotel, who called emergency services after noticing suspicious behavior, according to ABC17, a Columbia, Missouri-based news organization.
"We did observe questionable behavior and activity and actually reported it so that's where the call originated from," George said to ABC17.
An investigation began when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children noted to the FBI that the child had been left alone at The Welcome Inn with men, according to a probable cause statement.
A witness came forward and told investigators that Collins had been offered cocaine in exchange for sex with the child, according to ABC17.
The same witness said that the girl spoke of "medicine" and “bad men” while describing the illicit activity that took place at the inn, according to The Columbia Tribune, a Columbia, Missouri-based newspaper.
Court documents say that the victim also described being raped by "Uncle Ben," referring to Thomas, according to The Columbia Tribune.
Bond for Thomas and Collins was set at $200,000. No attorney is listed for either Collins or Thomas, according to The Columbia Tribune.
Nanette Ward of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition commented that these situations are far less rare than the general public would assume.
"This is a case that we know about but as we speak I know right now, I have no doubt, that there is some other minor being sold to somebody," Ward said to ABC17.
[Photo: Columbia Police Department]
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