Arrest made in sex trafficking of teen girl who disappeared at Mavs game
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — It was a crime that made headlines around the world: a North Texas girl sex trafficked after disappearing from a Mavericks game. Now, nine months later, Dallas police say they have made an arrest in the case.
CBS11 I-Team reporter Ginger Allen recently sat down with the girl's parents. Kyle and Brooke Morris have waited for months to find out who took their daughter from the AAC last April. They only knew the men in the grainy surveillance pictures by what they wore. "There's video of yellow hoodie using a cell phone, then gray hoodie comes walking up," said Kyle, describing what their attorney has seen on the video.
The Morrises say the man in yellow struck up a conversation with their 15-year-old daughter when she walked to the bathroom. "She did tell me that it was along the lines of, 'let's hang out for the rest of the game until it ends, then you can get back to your dad,'" said Brooke.
A source within DPD tells CBS11 detectives believe the man in yellow is 33-year-old Emanuel Cartagena. He's charged with sexual assault of a child.
The girl told her parents she was lured into a parking garage where she was raped before being driven away. She wouldn't be found for ten days. Her parents, with the help of a private investigator, tracked her to a hotel in Oklahoma City where she was being trafficked.
"She was drugged over several days," said Brooke. "So bits of her memory are still coming back."
None of the Dallas suspects were there, but Oklahoma City PD did make three arrests. Two of the Oklahoma suspects have pled guilty and are serving prison sentences, while the third is awaiting trial. The Morrises say Dallas PD refused to take their report until October - six months after the incident. DPD has previously said it did not take the report because of a statute that says missing children ages 13-17 are considered runaways and reports should be filed in the city where the teen resides.
In December, Crime Stoppers released the surveillance images of three men they called people of interest. Now one of those men is behind bars, and the Morrises hope more answers are on the way.
Zeke Fortenberry, the Morrises' attorney, said in a statement:
"On behalf of the victim and her parents, we are pleased to learn that Emanuel Cartagena has been arrested for sexual assault of a child. We believe Cartagena to be the man who originally lured the victim from the Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center before sexually assaulting her in Dallas. The victim was then trafficked to Oklahoma. With no Dallas arrests in the nine months since she was sexually assaulted, it has been agonizing for the victim and her parents. The arrest of Cartagena is progress toward seeing that justice is done, and we appreciate the efforts of the Dallas Police Department. We hope that the other suspects related to her sexual assault in Dallas will also be arrested in the near future."
for more features.