Douglas County, Oregon – According to the Roseburg Police Department, three girls who were reported missing in Washington state were recently found inside of a vehicle with a fugitive from California.
The discovery that happened on Thursday, February 13th, took place near the Roseburg Regional Airport in Oregon’s Douglas County, after police spotted a suspicious vehicle parked.
Officers from the RPD stopped the car after briefly surveilling it and happened upon 41-year-old Maurice Pierre Hurth of Suisun City, California. Inside the suspect’s vehicle, which was reported as a rental car, were three girls all under the age of 18.
When police ran a check on Hurth, they had uncovered several active warrants for his arrest stemming from California.
Police immediately placed Hurth under arrest for said warrants, and described encountering some brief resistance from the suspect while enacting the arrest.
It wasn’t until police interviewed the young women inside the vehicle that the arrest of Hurth became all the more meaningful.
After investigating things further, police learned that the three minor occupants were recently reported missing from a youth group home in the Seattle, Washington area.
The young girls were immediately taken into protective custody and transferred over to the Douglas County Juvenile Shelter in Roseburg.
Authorities have now charged Hurth with three counts each of trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution and first-degree custodial interference, as well as one count of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree.
Sgt. Jeff Eichenbush from the RPD stated the following on the case:
“Related to this incident, we don’t have any reason to believe there are any other victims or anybody else that was with Mr. Hurth or the other three minors.”
According to jail records, Hurth is scheduled to appear in court on February 21st and has currently not had any bond set.
In Florida this week, police made another bust where they were able to save a 3-year-old girl who had been kidnapped.
Editor note: Although our team uncovered pictures on social media tying the child to the kidnappers, we’ve chosen to not reveal those pictures in an effort to protect the child.According to WXTL Tallahassee, the two suspects who were arrested for the kidnapping of 3-year-old Madeline Mejia have had their identities released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
According to court documents, 19-year-old Kevin Olmeda-Velis and 18-year-old Tania Fortin-Duarte were arrested charges related to the kidnapping of the child and are currently being held at the Leon County Jail.
The incident started out on Monday, February 10th in Apopka, Florida, when the victim’s father was with his 3-year-old daughter outside of his home at around 6:00 a.m.
The father realized that he’d forgotten to grab his keys from the house, and ran inside to get them while his daughter stayed on the front lawn.
Moments later he heard his daughter screaming and, when he ran outside, he saw a man snatching his daughter and placing her into a black Honda with a temporary Texas license plate.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes, the father chased down the car from his Apopka home until he lost sight of the suspect’s car on Interstate 75 North. The victim’s father didn’t have a cellphone at the time when he began to immediately chase down the suspect, but returned home after losing sight to call the police.
At around 9:30 a.m., an AMBER alert was issued for the abducted child. Just 90 minutes after the FDLE issued the alert, the young girl was located by authorities.
Trooper Jessie Sunday from the Florida Highway Patrol was actively looking for a black Honda while the alert was active, and had spotted the suspect’s vehicle on the I-10 West near mile marker 208 in Leon County.
When Trooper Sunday, along with other troopers present, conducted the traffic stop – they had found Madeline Mejia unharmed.
The moment our agents recovered Madeline Mejia this morning!
Thanks to our law enforcement partners and everyone else who helped to swiftly and successfully resolve this AMBER Alert! #FLAMBERhttps://t.co/2LpvqQviRT pic.twitter.com/52KEX19QzJ
— FDLE (@fdlepio) February 10, 2020
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Lester Mejia, the girls father, was relieved when he was reunited with his daughter:
“It was anguish not knowing what was happening to my daughter. I’m happy for my baby coming back.”
While some have been critical of the father briefly leaving his young daughter’s side that morning, Police Chief Michael McKinley noted that not everyone is thinking the worst can happen at any second:
“Obviously he didn’t think this was the morning someone was going to grab Madeline, We don’t all think about that.”
Olmeda-Velis and Fortin-Duarte were immediately arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility on Monday. Police have yet to release a suspected motive in the crime, but believe that the two suspects were headed toward Texas with the young girl.
They are both being held without bond and are scheduled to have their first appearance on Tuesday, February 11th.
After reviewing Facebook, we’d uncovered the profiles of both Olmeda-Velis and Fortin-Duarte. According to their respective profiles, Olmeda-Velis was born in El Salvador and currently resides in Houston, Texas.
A review of his friends list revealed that he’s connected on Facebook with Fortin-Duarte.
Fortin-Duarte’s Facebook profile showcased that she currently lives in Orlando, Florida – not far from where the abduction took place. It was also shown that the female suspect is originally from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras.
While reviewing both the social media accounts for the suspects in custody, while these were posts that were “public”, there wasn’t much present that could be linked to a motive either.
The only connection was that Olmeda-Velis was based in Texas, at some point travelled to Florida and linked up with Fortin-Duarte, and then the kidnapping allegedly happened.
Yet, when looking into the victim’s father’s Facebook – there was an interesting revelation. It looks like Lester Mejia was quite familiar Fortin-Duarte. In fact, just months prior to the kidnapping, it looks like they might have been dating.
Pictures of them can be seen at the beaches of Florida, where Lester is hugging Fortin-Duarte – while she has her hands placed on the Madeline Mejia.
So is this all just a coincidence, or was there trouble in paradise sometime down the road?
It’s hard to tell, but both Lester Mejia and Fortin-Duarte are still connected on Facebook as of this time.