Two days later, according to Miami police, Thomas met the 13-year-old girl at the USA Flea Market, 3015 NW 79th St. A day later, he saw her again and convinced the girl to go with him to the Miami Shores Motel, 10500 Biscayne Blvd., where he was now living.
Thomas and Sanders “compelled and coerced” the girl to become a prostitute. They took “provocative” photos of the girl and put them on Backpage.com, billing her as a “new girl.”
The free classifieds website has popped up in court papers and arrest affidavits across the country as a bulletin board for men to traffick children, including some recent cases involving Florida foster children in the Homestead and Jacksonville areas.
Police say Thomas and Sanders gave the girl condoms, coached her how to talk to johns and began bringing in clients who paid up to $100 an hour.
After each encounter, Thomas and Sanders immediately came into the room and counted the money. Once, they duct taped her and “threatened to kill her” after an argument over missing cash, according to an arrest report.
When she threatened to leave, they took her back to the Flea Market. On the right eyelid: “Suave,” Thomas’ street name. On the left, “House,” suggesting she belonged to his flock.
The girl also told investigators that the duo gave her liquor, marijuana and “Mollies,” a form of the amphetamine MDM.
The girl had run away from a tumultuous home life, police said. Her mother, fearing she was being pimped, tracked her down and found her with Thomas. The teen’s mother later called Miami police. The teen now is receiving therapy and health services through Project Gold, a program of Miami’s Kristi House, a nonprofit that assists abuse victims.
Investigators say they believe there are other young victims out there and have established a hotline. Anyone with information may call the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Human Trafficking Hotline at 305-350-5567.
(TM and © 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and © 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)