Quantcast

Facebook rumors of child sex trafficking ring, not true - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Facebook rumors of child sex trafficking ring, not true, authorities say

Posted: Updated:
KTBS 3 News investigates Facebook rumors on child sex trafficking ring KTBS 3 News investigates Facebook rumors on child sex trafficking ring

KTBS has received a viewer tip, and seen Facebook posts about a possible Child Sex Trafficking Ring operating in or near the ArkLaTex. Ambrosia Rushing, mother of an 8 year old boy, lives several miles outside of Hughes Springs, Texas. A female door-to-door salesperson with a thick European accent visited her house recently. She tells KTBS "red Flags started going off when she told me that the school sent her. I got even more worried when I realized she was asking me detailed questions about my family." Ms. Rushing called the school to check out the woman's story and found that they had not sent her there to sell books. The concerned mother then called local police and wanted to warn her neighbors and other parents. At the same time, a letter from a Conway, Arkansas woman was making its way around Facebook. The letter stated that "there is a human trafficking ring operating in Faulkner Co. [Arkansas] and they are preying on young children." When different people mentioned these posts to Ms. Rushing, she grew more alarmed.

KTBS spoke with Randy Kennedy, the Chief of Police for Hughes Springs, Texas, who is confident that the European woman attempting to sell books to Ms. Rushing is not involved in a criminal enterprise to abduct children and put them in the sex trade. Kennedy tells us that the woman is known to him because she voluntarily came into the Police Department to see if she needed to be permitted to sell door to door in that area. Kennedy has a photograph of her and the information from her identification. He would be able to connect her to any crime in that area. Chief Kennedy did advise the woman that she did need a permit to sell door to door in Cass County and it appears that she did not acquire that permit. KTBS was able to independently verify that the woman who visited Ms. Rushing is indeed a registered book seller with Southwestern Advantage.

Further researching the issue, we did determine that Southwestern Advantage, does have an independent door to door sales force selling educational books nationwide, and they recruit heavily from Europe and Eastern Europe for this sales force. Most active during the summer time, these door to door salespeople have drawn attention before, because of their foreign accents, but also their questions about the children. In attempting to target sales at the right ages, reports say they are encouraged to ask about the children in the home and also to find prospects for future sales by finding out about other age appropriate children in the area. We are unable to verify if the company is providing leads and names and ages of children for sales prospects.

But what about the letter from Conway Arkansas warning of "vile acts" and asking why "there has not been an Amber Alert out or why the news media has not been informed"?  KTBS talked to the author of the letter, Sandy Ray, who intended the letter to be for her "church family" and did "not share it on Facebook." One of Mrs. Ray's employees, the mother of a nine year old, had told her about a terrifying incident at her home. In her letter, and in our conversation with her, Mrs. Ray says that her employee related to her that on Friday night, August 23rd, around 11 PM, in Greenbriar, Arkansas, the nine year old child was inside her bedroom when a man knocked on her window. The child went and told her parents about it, and the father then chased a man off from outside of the home. Though it was dark, the father felt very confident that the man he chased off from outside of his home, was the same man that had visited him at his house days before – a European man who was selling books or magazines for an unnamed company. According to Mrs. Ray, the foreign salesman had made the father uncomfortable, mainly because he knew the man's name and the age of his child.

While we are unsure if the investigation into the incident near the Bono Baptist Church is still ongoing or not, the Sheriff in Faulkner County did talk to the parent company in Nashville, TN, and verified the identity of the gentleman in the Greenbriar area. In addition, after the foreign salesman heard about the rumors, her voluntarily went to the Sheriff's office and has been interviewed by the Sheriff. The Sheriff did post a response on his website

We also checked out the claims from Mrs. Ray's letter.

We contacted Todd Stovall, Chief of Police in Paragould, Arkansas, who says he has been in contact with the Greenbriar, Arkansas Police Department, the Claiborne County Police Department, The Guy Police Department, and the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office. Stovall says, "These are small towns. We stay in contact with each other when things like this go on. We do not think that there is a criminal network abducting children." When asked about some of the specific claims in Mrs. Ray's letter, that "two little boys from the Quitman are missing and another kidnapping (two other children) failed" Chief Stovall tells us, "Not true. No, there are not two boys missing from Quitman and we do not have reports of another failed kidnapping attempt."

Another Facebook post now circulating with the account from Mrs. Ray, says that there is a suspicious individual possibly targeting children in Paragould, Arkansas. That post does not mention book sales or foreign individuals. It deals with children waiting to catch a bus on Carriage Hills Drive. We discussed this issue with Chief Stovall who tells us that a group of children did report to their School Resource officer that as they were waiting on the bus, an unknown individual, a bald, white male in a gray van with a red stripe, did approach them and that the children did feel uncomfortable and ran the other way to tell another adult. Stovall says they are attempting to make contact with the driver of the van to investigate this further. "I'm proud of the young woman for being alert and going to get a grown up. We would like to find out what his intentions were. But we do not think this is in any way connected to the reports about door to door salesman who may be in the area," Stovall said. 

While a broader ring of foreign sex traffickers does not appear to be true, isolated incidents do continue to give parents reasons to stay alert and teach their children how to avoid contact with strangers. As Sandy Ray reminds us, "we should not be in a panic, but we should be on the alert to keep our children safe."

If you need to verify a dealer really works for the company, you can check out their web site Southwestern Advantage

  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:13 GMT
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
  • Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:28:29 GMT
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
  • Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:14:50 GMT
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:51 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:51:53 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:33 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:33:50 GMT
    Photo courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSOPhoto courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSO
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
  • KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:24 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:24:04 GMT
    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Do your part & help "Stuff the Bus"

    Do your part & help "Stuff the Bus"

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:33 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:33:12 GMT
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for our Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign.Today the bus, which we plan to stuff with much needed school supplies, will be parked at Whataburger on Bert Kouns near Youree Drive from 9am-3pm.
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for our Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign.Today the bus, which we plan to stuff with much needed school supplies, will be parked at Whataburger on Bert Kouns near Youree Drive from 9am-3pm.
  • School bus safety

    School bus safety

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:28:19 GMT

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.

  • BESE votes to join lawsuit challenging Jindal

    BESE votes to join lawsuit challenging Jindal

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-07-29 17:51:34 GMT
    Louisiana's state school board has voted to join a lawsuit filed to challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to block implementation of the Common Core education standards.
    Louisiana's state school board has voted to join a lawsuit filed to challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to block implementation of the Common Core education standards.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

    Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:19:35 GMT
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the...
    Authorities say a pipe break that flooded UCLA's famed Pauley Pavilion has now released 20 million gallons of water and continues to gush.
  • Sheriff: Baby left in van outside doctor's office

    Sheriff: Baby left in van outside doctor's office

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:17:41 GMT
    A doctor and nurses went to the aid of a 2-month-old baby girl after a Florida mom left the infant in a hot minivan outside a pediatrician's office for about an hour, authorities say.
    A doctor and nurses went to the aid of a 2-month-old baby girl after a Florida mom left the infant in a hot minivan outside a pediatrician's office for about an hour, authorities say.
  • Key witness testifies in ex-governor's trial

    Key witness testifies in ex-governor's trial

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:17:40 GMT
    The assistant to the wealthy businessman at the center of the corruption case against ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has testified about arranging trips for the former first family.
    Curing his wife's thyroid disease. Connections in the high-end fashion world. Learjet flights for politicians.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File