'Disturbing' human trafficking arrests made in Natchitoches - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

'Disturbing' human trafficking arrests made in Natchitoches

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David Rodriguez David Rodriguez
Christina Harper Christina Harper
Ambre Lomas Ambre Lomas
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NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - An investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office, and  Louisiana State Police, has led to three arrests in what NPSO Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. described as the most “severe and disturbing” case of Human Trafficking ever seen in Natchitoches Parish.

According to NPSO, the investigation began on May 31, around 11:11 p.m., when a Robeline Asst. Town Marshal reported finding a female attached to a logging chain around her and a bucket at a business near the Intersections of I-49 and University Parkway (La. Hwy 6 West) near Natchitoches.

NPSO Deputies responded to the scene and learned the transgender victim had been held captive, chained against her will for several days, at 500 Dick Anderson Road, near Ajax in northwest Natchitoches Parish.

According to NPSO, the victim was able to free herself and drive the vehicle of one of the suspects to Natchitoches.

NPSO said the victim was suffering from numerous lacerations and bruises to the body, and deputies took her to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. Natchitoches City Firemen removed the logging chain.The victim was placed in protective custody after being treated and released from the hospital.

NPSO Detectives also responded to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, and on June 2, the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit began assisting detectives.

Detectives said they learned that the victim, an out of state resident, initially met an Ajax couple, identified as David Rodriguez Jr., 37, and Christina Marie Harper, 39, both of Pleasant Hill, online and agreed to voluntarily move into their home several months ago. 

Rodriguez allegedly drove to the victim’s out-of-state residence and assisted her in packing and moving. Detectives said Rodriguez enslaved the victim after she moved in with the couple. 

NPSO said Rodriguez allegedly made the victim turn over all cash and a 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle to him, and he later tattooed and registered her as a slave online.

Rodriguez gave the victim a list of daily chores including serving meals, drinks, taking care of animals, leveling dirt for a swimming pool, installing a swimming pool, digging trenches, removal of fallen trees and performing sexual acts.

Detectives said if the victim failed to perform these duties, Rodriguez, Harper and a third person identified as Ambre Tubbs Lomas, 39, of Shreveport, "disciplined" her with beatings, carving initials into undisclosed areas of her body, tazing and throwing urine on her.

Detectives said the victim told her master she wanted to leave after the beatings and discipline became severe. As a result, they chained her in the woods. Later they moved her into a building where they fed her once a day and provided limited water and urine for her to drink.

NPSO Chief Investigator Greg Dunn said detectives executed a search warrant on June 4 at the couple's residence. Detectives seized fifteen  firearms, a stun gun, four computers, two tablet computers, three external hard drives, one digital camera, one digital video camera and an iPod.

The State Office of Child Protective Services removed two children, ages 15 and 16, from the residence. 

Sheriff Jones said detectives, Louisiana State Police and members of the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office spent hours putting the case together and obtaining sufficient evidence and cause to secure criminal warrants signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge.

The three suspects turned themselves in to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office on June 4, around 8:15 a.m.

Rodriguez was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Human Trafficking, 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery,  1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 2-counts of Offenses against Computer Users. His bond is set at $635.000 dollars.

Harper was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Human Trafficking, 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery, 1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 2-counts of Offenses against Computer Users. Her bond is set at $635,000 dollars.

Lomas was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Second Degree Kidnapping/False Imprisonment, and 1-count of Aggravated Second Degree Battery. Her bond is set at $525,000 dollars.

All three suspects remain in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Sheriff Jones extended his appreciation to Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Van Kyzar, Colonel Michael D. Edmondson and the Louisiana State Police along with all of the NPSO Deputies that were involved in this intense investigation.

NPSO said those involved in the investigation and arrests included: Detective Tim Key, NPSO High Tech Crime Unit Detective Carey Etheredge, Chief Investigator Greg Dunn,  Deputy Amber Shirley, LSP Special Victims Unit Detective Amanda Fournier, and Assistant District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington.
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