Kirkland theft investigation leads to discovery of sex trafficking victim

Teen was found at Motel 6.

Kirkland police arrested two suspects and rescued a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim from Motel 6 in Kirkland.

The female teen, from California, was believed to be a victim of sex trafficking, according to the department.

The incident began with the Kirkland police responding to a theft report at a local gas station on Dec. 2. As Kirkland police arrived, they noticed a suspect car at Motel 6, opposite the gas station.

The department was informed of a missing California teen by the FBI on Dec. 1. The FBI believed the teen was a sex trafficking victim and located at the Kirkland Motel 6, according to police.

When the police began to investigate the suspect vehicle, two men were inside, accompanied by a box of condoms and clear high heels, which the police believed to be associated with the missing teenager.

The police continued their investigation, leading them to one of the motel rooms where they found the missing California teen. The police then turned the teen over to Child Protective Services for care.

Kirkland police impounded the vehicle, arrested the two suspects, and booked them into the King County Jail. The police anticipate the two suspects will be charged with promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor and other crimes.

The KPD offered red flags that can indicate someone might be a victim of sex trafficking:

• Person seems overly fearful, submissive, tense or paranoid.

• Person is deferring to another person before giving information.

• Person has physical injuries or brandings such as name tattoos on face or chest, tattoos about money and sex or pimp phrases.

• Clothing is inappropriately sexual or inappropriate for the weather.

• Minor is unaccompanied at night or falters in giving an explanation of who they are with and what they are doing.

• Identification documents are held by another.

• Person works long or excessive hours or is always available “on demand.”

• Overly sexual for age or situation.

• Multiple phones or social media accounts.

• Signs of unusual wealth without explanation — new jewelry, shoes and phones without any known form of income.

• Person lives in a “massage” business or is not free to come and go.