RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County police say a runaway girl was found at a Manhattan hotel working as a prostitute.
Officials say the teen was brought to the area by a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old female who have both been charged with sex trafficking.
Lieutenant Michael Quintanar with the Riley County Police Department's Investigations Division released the following information on the case:
"On April 5th 2012, Riley County detectives received a call from Sedgwick County authorities requesting assistance in locating a runaway juvenile in their area. They believed the female juvenile was in the Manhattan area and was involved in prostitution at one of the local hotels.
Detectives located the juvenile at America’s Best Value Inn and further investigation led the detectives to the people that transported the juvenile to the area at the Manhattan Town Center Mall. The juvenile and two other people were detained and transported to the police department. Detectives applied for and were granted a search warrant to search the motel room.
The investigation revealed that a 15-year-old juvenile was brought to Manhattan by a man and woman for the purpose of prostitution. All three subjects were in possession of marijuana and two possessed drug paraphernalia. It was also confirmed that the juvenile was a runway from Sedgwick County, Kansas."
Zachary Bevilcqua, 19, from Winfield, Kansas, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Trafficking, Aggravated Endangering a Child and Possession of Marijuana. His bond was set at $24,000.
Kendra Gonzalez, 17, from Wichita, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Trafficking, Aggravated Endangering a Child, Promoting Prostitution, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was transported to the North Central Kansas Juvenile Detention Facility in Junction City.
The name of the 15-year-old girl is not being released since she was the victim of a sex crime. Police documents indicate that she is from Wichita. The teen was charged with Prostitution, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Child in Need of Care-Runaway. She was transported to the North Central Kansas Juvenile Detention Facility in Junction City.
On Friday morning, April 6, 20120, Lieutenant Quintanar revealed that after consulting with the Riley County Attorney’s Office, a decision was made to release the 15-year-old minor and not charge her with any offenses. "The minor is a victim of Aggravated Trafficking, therefore, she is a victim to prostitution as well," Quintanar said in an updated press release regarding the incident.
She is still confined pending release to Sedgwick County authorities for being a Child in Need of Care – Runaway.
Police declined to release any further details on the case and would not comment on how the underage girl knew the two suspects.
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