Police get called to a seedy motel after reports of a fight. They find two women injured, one badly, as well as a group of men standing around videotaping the incident on their phones. As Det. Scott begins to investigate, he quickly realizes there is much more than meets the eye as he follows the evidence into a world of gangs and human trafficking.
Special Guest: Detective Scott
Detective Scott has been in law enforcement for over 15 years. His assignments include patrol, the gang unit at his agency, and special victims’ crimes. He currently works narcotics at his agency, as well as working on a task force that helps federal agencies investigate international crime organizations. He has a Masters’s Degree in communications and is an avid reader of nonfiction.
Scott: [00:00:02] One of the guy’s hands her like a little pocket knife, like a three four-inch pocket knife, and Anne’s on her back, Yeti’s on top of a straddling her and she has her by the throat strangling her and she takes that knife and she points it right at her face. She says, “I should kill you right now. I should just kill you right now.”
Yeardley [00:00:21] When a serious crime is committed in a small town, a handful of detectives are charged with solving the case. I’m Yeardley, and I’m fascinated by these stories. I invited my friends, Detectives Dan and Dave, to help me gather the best true crime cases from around the country and have the men and women who investigated them, tell us how it happened.
Dan [00:00:46] I’m Dan.
Dave [00:00:47] I’m Dave. We’re identical twins from Small Town USA.
Dan [00:00:51] Dave investigated sex crimes and crimes against children. He’s now a patrol sergeant at his police department.
Dave [00:00:57] Dan investigated violent crimes. He’s now retired. Together, we have more than two decades experience and have worked hundreds of cases. We’ve altered names, places, relationships, and certain details in these cases to maintain the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dan [00:01:12] We ask you to join us in protecting their true identities, as well as the locations of these crimes out of respect for everyone involved. Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:01:28] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:33] Good afternoon.
Yeardley: [00:01:34] Good afternoon, so good to see you.
Dave: [00:01:37] It’s good to be here.
Yeardley: [00:01:38] We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:38] Yardley.
Yeardley: [00:01:40] Detective Dan.
Dave: [00:01:42] Hey, Dave.
Dan: [00:01:43] Hey, Dan. Cool.
Yeardley: [00:01:45] I like it when you two say hello.
Dave: [00:01:46] Hi, Dan.
Dan: [00:01:47] Hi, Dave. Cool.
Yeardley: [00:01:48] We are so pleased to welcome back to the podcast one of our favorites, Detective Scott.
Scott: [00:01:55] Hello. It’s great to be back.
Yeardley: [00:01:57] Thanks for coming back. Scott, you have a really fiery case for us today. I’m just going to let you take it from here.
Scott: [00:02:06] All right, yeah. A few years back in my agency, I got a call one night from a detective who was working overtime. He’s on our surveillance team, which is a really high-level surveillance unit that works all sorts of cases that are connected to the city and some outside as well.
Dave: [00:02:26] Do you guys at your agency have a special name for that surveillance unit?
Scott: [00:02:30] Yeah, we call them Varsity because they’re the cream of the crop.
Yeardley: [00:02:33] Nice.
Scott: [00:02:34] I get a call from this detective who’s on Varsity. He says, “Hey, I’m going to send you something, I want you to look into it.” At the time, I was working domestic violence with hybrid sex crimes style cases, so I was working a little bit of both. I was kind of training leading into doing sex crimes. Since I had a background in gangs, he felt that this case would be right up my alley. He told me that he responded to a call at about 10:30 at night of a loud disturbance inside of a hotel room. Now, I say hotel, but I mean motel. This is a motel and pretty high crime area, a very transit motel. People come, they stay maybe a night, maybe a few hours and then leave.
Dave: [00:03:21] I was picturing the Four Seasons.
Scott: [00:03:22] Yeah, no. Okay. This is one of those roadside inns.
Dave: [00:03:25] Got it.
Scott: [00:03:27] Very, very prominent motel in the city I work in. A lot of crime coming out of that particular location. He calls me and says, “Hey, I responded with a few guys, we did a motel check and this room. When we got the door open, we noticed five known documented self-admitted gang members and two females in the room,” and it was a mess. We arrested a few guys for parole violations, one guy we arrested for narcotics possession, and we ended up taking both females to jail on a domestic violence case. I said, “Hmm, that’s interesting. Why take two people to jail? Why not find the aggressor, like most situations call for and take one to jail?” You find that predominant aggressor, and that person gets removed from the situation and the other one most likely is your victim.
Dan: [00:04:19] In your jurisdiction, is it a mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases?
Scott: [00:04:23] Yeah, if there’s an injury, definitely, someone’s going to jail in a domestic violence incident. There’s so many incidents where no one went to jail, and then someone got severely hurt on the heels of knowing going to jail.
Dave: [00:04:35] Right. The cops left, and then there was like, “Now you’re in trouble.” It’s rare for us, it’s not unheard of, but it’s rare that you’re going to take both parties in that dispute to jail.
Scott: [00:04:45] Yes.
Dave: [00:04:46] Usually to solve the problem, you just take one away, and that solves a problem for that night.
Yeardley: [00:04:50] Right, for that night.
Scott: [00:04:51] Yeah. This was also different because I got a call well outside the scope of my normal duty. You work pretty much 9 to 5 as a detective. This is well into the night, and he says, “Hey, I’m going to forward you to your email. I’m going to afford you this video, I want you to check it out and tell me what you think.” I said, “Okay.” A few minutes later, I open up this email, and it’s a video from the scene inside of the motel room. The video, it’s a striking video, to say the least. I think it’s something that should be shown across multiple platforms to let people see the realness that is what ended up being human trafficking and how it really looks.
Dave: [00:05:39] This is a video taken by law enforcement or this is something they seized while they’re in the room?
Scott: [00:05:44] When they make entry into the room, when the doors open, this detective sees one of the subjects in the room who was later arrested for possession of narcotics, he sees his arm extended like he’s videoing an incident with his cell phone. He says that’s kind of different what’s going on here. He also sees the two females towards the bed, one of them on the bed, apparently injured. He sees a knife. They see this scene, and it’s obviously something crazy is happening, something out of the norm of five gangsters and two females in a motel room, something’s not right. They pull these people out, they start to get information. They talk to one guy, Martin. Martin says, “Hey, yeah, we were taking video. I know I was taking video, and some of these other guys were taking video.” The detective asked for consent to look at the video that was being shot. He has consent from two of the three videographers to look at the video.
Yeardley: [00:06:44] Why do they need consent to view those videos on those phones if it’s obvious a crime is being committed?
Dan: [00:06:51] A phone as much like a computer and you have a right to privacy in your phone and your computer. If you don’t get consent, then you seize the phones, and you write a search warrant because that stuff can be remotely raised by the owner of that phone.
Yeardley: [00:07:06] Remotely erased?
Dan: [00:07:08] Yeah, you can log in from your laptop and scrub your phone.
Yeardley: [00:07:12] So, you’re okay to seize it, but you can’t look in it.
Dan: [00:07:16] Yeah. honestly, there’s quite a process when you seize a phone like that, where you have maybe an inkling that they’re going to remotely scrub their phone, we have these bags that will shield so you can’t log into that phone. It’s basically a barrier.
Yeardley: [00:07:33] Oh, wow, that’s cool.
Dan: [00:07:35] Because a lot of these phones, once you power them on again and you try to log in, the first order of business for that phone, if you’ve remotely scrubbed it, is it just erases everything. So, we put them in these bags that protect it. We have boxes also that shield cell–
Yeardley: [00:07:54] Like a black box.
Dan: [00:07:55] Yeah, it’s a big vault, like premature babies where they have the little gloves that go into the little premature baby incubator?
Yeardley: [00:08:02] Right, if you want to hold your baby, you mean?
Dan: [00:08:05] That’s what these boxes look like, and you can manipulate the phone and it can remain in the box because there’s this barrier around it. That’s sometimes what we have to do to work on these phones.
Yeardley: [00:08:15] That’s so interesting. Wow. Okay, we digress. Scott, last you were saying, your detective is given consent to look at the videos. What does he see?
Dave: [00:08:25] He looks at Martin’s video, which shows one angle of the fight and then he looks at this second subjects cell phone, which is the opposite view. Obviously, it shows the same thing just from different angles. As you watch it, it’s hard to make sense of this, why is this happening? Why is this one female severely beating this other female? That doesn’t seem like domestic violence. Is this is a gang beef? You’re investigating, mind start spinning, like, what would cause this to happen and why would there be five subjects egging on this confrontation between these two females? Why is this happening?
Yeardley: [00:09:01] The five guys are egging on the fight of the two females, no way trying to break it up?
Scott: [00:09:06] Oh, yeah, the entire time, they’re filming and they’re encouraging the bigger female who–
Yeardley: [00:09:13] What’s her name?
Scott: [00:09:14] Her name is Yeti. That was her moniker, gang name. They called her Yeti.
Dan: [00:09:19] Why did they call her Yeti?
Scott: Well, I’ll give you one guess, she was a pretty hefty woman. She was not to be trifled with. I would not want to engage in a fight with her.
Dave: [00:09:29] Yeti’s not afraid to throw hands either.
Scott: [00:09:31] No, Yeti can throw hands very well. The way she was throwing her hands was impressive. I was like, “Oh, man, she can throw a punch.” She had good arm movement, good hip movement. She’d been in multiple fights before. This isn’t our first go-around. She’s beating on Anne, and Anne is a 24-year-old female that’s maybe 5’1”, kind of a smaller, docile female. Some of the words Yeti is saying, like she is saying, “I can’t believe you’d step out on us, bitch,” stuff like that.
Dave: [00:10:03] Yeti’s saying that to Anne?
Scott: [00:10:04] Yeah, Yeti’s saying that to Anne, “Where’d you go? Where’d you go? What were you doing? Who’re you talking to?” Wasn’t to me domestic violence. Is Anne a gangster, too? Are they on a weekend binge and Anne is going to go rat these people out? What’s going on here?
Yeardley: [00:10:21] What’s a weekend binge?
Scott: [00:10:22] Well, sometimes gangsters get together three or four, they’ll rent a motel room, take a bunch of methamphetamine or cocaine or whatever drug of choice and live out of a certain hotel room in a certain city, get high, go out and commit crime, come back, get high, go out and commit crime come back. They just float around on a crime binge, whether it’s breaking into cars and stealing things, robbing liquor stores, you name it, they do it, stealing cars, stuff like that. Normally, they do that outside their city and being that subjects involved in this were from a gang that was probably three or four cities south east of the city that I work in. Prominent gang, known gang, just different cities. It makes sense that they’re in our city, ruffling a bunch of feathers and then going back to their city to chill.
The next morning, I show up, I’ve seen this video. During the video, Anne’s getting beat up multiple punches to the face. At one point, Yeti starts to strangle her. Then, she actually says, “Give me a knife.” One of the guys hands like a little pocket knife, like a three four-inch pocket knife, and Anne’s on her back, Yeti’s on top of her straddling her and she has her by the throat strangling her and she takes that knife and she points it right at her face. She says, “I should kill you right now. I should just kill you right now.” Anne couldn’t do a thing about it. Yeti ends up letting her up, comes back out, slaps around a few more times. The whole time she’s just saying like, “I didn’t do anything. I’m here. I just went for a walk. I didn’t do anything.”
Yeardley: [00:11:57] Anne is saying that?
Scott: [00:11:58] Anne is saying that. We end up taking five people to jail. There were seven people in the hotel room, five of them went to jail for different reasons. Two other people were allowed to leave. There’s nothing on them. They had nothing, no warrants, they left. I interview Yeti first. The next morning, I come in, I have the crime report that the officers took, I talk again to some of the responding officers and I said, “Okay, well I’m going to go investigate this like a domestic violence, even though I think something’s up here.” This is not like a classic DV case. I talked to Yeti, and Yeti is playing the victim. She’s just playing the victim big time. She’s slumped down in a chair, sniffling like she’d been crying. She can’t believe she’d get into this argument.
Now, keep in mind Yeti doesn’t know that I’ve seen the video. No one knows I’ve seen the video. Other than Martin, and the subject that went to jail for narcotics possession, no one knows that these videos have been watched. She’s like, “We got into an argument. Just a lovers’ spat and we started to hit each other, and I’m just bigger than her, so I think I might have got the better of her. I really love Anne, she’s my girl, my ride or die chick until the end.” I was like, “Ride or die chick? Talk to me about that. What do you mean ride or die chick?” She starts to get in to the fact that her herself, Yeti, is in fact a gang member, and Anne hangs out with her and her gang buddies. Anne is not a gang member, but she hangs out and she knows stuff they do.
Yeardley: [00:13:29] Is that allowed? You can hang out with the gang, but not be part of the gang?
Scott: [00:13:33] Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Dave: [00:13:35] You just better not talk about what you’ve witnessed.
Scott: [00:13:37] Yeah. Gangs have evolved from– I live on 51st Street and 100th Street, so I’m from the 51st street gang, to I have a buddy who can make money and the city next over, so we can actually collaborate to make money together, and that way we’re not fighting. It’s evolved from, “This is my hood, don’t do anything. We’re going to wear Nike Cortez and stand on the corner and look like a bunch of gangsters,” to, “I’m going to dress normal, but deep down, I’m a gangster and I’ll slice you.”
Yeardley: [00:14:11] I see.
Scott: [00:14:12] This is now the time period where, yes, they have a “hood” that they belong to, but it’s not outside their scope to work with other hoods to make money.
Yeardley: [00:14:23] It’s a little more entrepreneurial, for lack of a better word.
Scott: [00:14:26] A lot of that comes from the prisons, so the orders are from prison, like, “No, no, no. Hey, that’s their territory.” All of you will pay your taxes up to one person, which are not members of your gang anyway, so make money, don’t make trouble. There’s still turf battles, but not as prevalent as what you saw in the 80s and 90s.
Yeardley: [00:14:55] Small Town Fam, I want to tell you about BetterHelp. If there’s something interfering with your happiness or preventing you from achieving your goals, BetterHelp can help you assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. It’s not a crisis line, and it’s not a self-help line. It’s professional counseling done securely online. There’s a broad range of expertise available. BetterHelp is committed to facilitating great therapeutic matches. That’s why they make it easy and free to change counselors if you need to. It’s more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available. BetterHelp just wants you to start living a happier life today. Visit their website and read their testimonials that are posted daily.
You could also visit their website at betterhelp.com, that’s help, H-E-L-P, forward slash SmallTownDicks. Our listeners will get 10% off their first month. That’s BetterHelp H-E-L-P dotcom forward slash SmallTownDicks for 10% off your first month, and you can join over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Also, BetterHelp is so popular, they’ve been recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states. So, betterhelp.com/smalltowndicks.
Yeardley: [00:16:32] Okay, so you’re interviewing Yeti, and she’s playing the victim and saying Anne’s her lover and her ride or die chick?.
Scott: [00:16:41] Anne’s my ride or die chick, and then I go into how they met. Yeti gives me this really drawn-out fake story about knowing Anne since they were little, and Yeti was able to get her away from her family. “She’s having trouble at home, now she stays with me. I thought Anne was cheating on me. That’s why I was beating her.” I don’t buy any of this. I’m just looking at her like, if you only knew Yeti.
Dan: [00:17:07] Saw the video.
Scott: [00:17:08] Right.
Yeardley: [00:17:08] Apart from that, your bullshit meter is spiking.
Scott: [00:17:11] Oh, yeah. 100%. I mean, I found out her dad was a gangster. She living on the streets. She had told me she herself was a victim of a sex crime, like a human trafficking.
Yeardley: [00:17:23] Yeti is saying, “I’m the victim of human trafficking sex crime”?
Scott: [00:17:27] Yeah. She’s saying, “Yeah, I’ve been victimized. I’ve been sold as a prostitute and I had a pimp.” She had a tattoo that was prevalent for prostitutes to have. A lot of prostitutes will have the tattoo of the mark of their pimps.
Yeardley: [00:17:42] Like a brand.
Scott: [00:17:43] It’s like a brand. It’ll say, like, “My Ray,” or, “My King,” and it’ll have a name and like a king hat or whatever. That means like, “I belong to him. No matter where I go, even if I’m working for someone else, I still have his tat on me.” I asked her about the tat, I saw the tat and I said, “Hey, what’s up with your tattoo? You’re out there working the streets too, or what?” She says, “Yeah, I did. I did. I started with the streets. I was made to do certain things that I didn’t want to do.” Now, I’ve got some information that she knows what human trafficking looks like. What new age prostitution, I guess you could call it, looks like.
Dave: [00:18:17] Something I want to touch on, and this has come up with our listeners during varying episodes, is the term ‘prostitute.’ We understand that these people are sex workers. The term prostitute, in my experience in dealing with these women, is that’s actually how they identify themselves, that I am a prostitute. When we use that term, it’s not to demean them and it’s not that we’re not aware of the new terms that people use, but that’s how they actually identify themselves. That’s why we use that term.
Scott: [00:18:49] Yeah. When you have a conversation with them, they don’t want you to downplay what they do. These are some of the most real people you’ll ever talk to. If you’re talking to them, and you’re not engaged with them on their level, they’re not going to respect you. If you don’t respect what they’re about, they’re sure as heck not going to respect what you’re about.
Dave: [00:19:09] Newer cops or less experienced cops, you have to adapt to whatever time, place and circumstance that you’re involved in. I choose to let whoever I’m contacting predict the type of language that I’m going to use with them. Somebody who’s very forthright and polite, and they’re like, “Officer,” they’re going to get ‘sir’ for me. There are other aspects of our society that if I say, “Yes, sir,” or, “Hey Sir, how you doing?” They don’t respect you at all because they’re like, “Oh, look, he’s a pussy, he’s calling me sir.”
Dan: [00:19:45] People outside of our industry don’t understand that, sometimes they hear colorful language from police officers is because we have to be masters at multiple dynamics with society.
Yeardley: [00:19:57] You’re mirroring.
Dave: [00:19:58] Right, you’re mirroring. One approach doesn’t cover everybody we’re going to deal with.
Scott: [00:20:05] So, I’m talking to her, and I’m just hearing what Yeti is saying, and I’m not buying it, but I get it. She’s a gangster. She’s not giving up the ghost. She wants to get taken to jail for domestic violence in this situation.
Yeardley: [00:20:18] Yeti does?
Scott: [00:20:19] Yeah, of course, because Yeti doesn’t want what’s truly happening to be revealed. “Hey, it’s just much easier to fight a domestic violence beef, I’m a female, they’re not doing anything to me on domestic violence right now.” Okay, so I bring in Anne after and I talked to her because she’s also facing charges. She’s much more docile, not a gangster at all.
Yeardley: [00:20:38] Is Yeti beat up at all? Why is Anne facing charges?
Scott: [00:20:42] Because of the statements that were provided to officers that night. And then, once they got back to the actual station with everybody, that’s when they got consent. Everyone’s already in jail, because of the statements that got at the motel, but keeping them there helps the investigation. We have legal cause to have them there, there’s reason to believe that they’re involved in a fight, we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I bring Anne in, and the interview was a lot different than the interview with Yeti. It was, “I don’t know why you guys brought me to jail. I’m the victim here. Look at my face, look at my throat, stuck a knife to me.” Now, she doesn’t know I’ve seen the video yet either. She’s telling me actual facts of what occurred in the video that I saw. Now I’m like, “Okay, I’m starting to pick up what Anne’s throwing down here.”
Dave: [00:21:28] Probable cause can come and go, based on facts that you learned through the investigation.
Scott: [00:21:33] Correct. Now I’m thinking okay, Anne’s victim, and I asked her, “What caused the fight?” Then, she sits there. Eyes going, head moving. I’m like, “Hey, Anne, what’s up? I don’t think that your girlfriend–” “Oh, no, I love her. I love her.” I go, “Okay. What’s going on here, Anne? Talk to me about this.” During the interview, more facts come to light. She tells me, “Hey, listen, I don’t know any of those people in that room. I barely met them like five, six days ago.” I go, “Including Yeti?” She goes, “No, I know Yeti a little bit better.” I go, “Okay. When did you first meet them?” She goes, “Well, it was about a week ago. I was at a bus stop and I ran away from my house. I have nothing. I’m in my 20s. I don’t have a job. I don’t have education. I’m living off my parents. I said, I’m just going to go. I got onto a bus stop, and this car passes, and it’s like three gangsters and Yeti.” She had known Yeti through street contacts that she had made just growing up in the area. Yeti tells her, “Hey, what are you doing? Come, kick it with us. Come, kick with us.” I said, “All right. I knew her.”
[00:22:40] I go, “Well, how did you know her? Why knew her?” “Because of drugs. I knew her she was a drug contact. If I needed to score or whatever, I could hit up people through Yeti, and Yeti could give me drugs.” Okay. Anne’s in the car with them. It’s Martin, who we talked about earlier as giving the phone away, and another known gang member from the same gang, and Yeti. They go to a motel room and they have like a three-day party where they’re ordering food, they’re drinking beer, doing drugs, they took Anne to get her nails done and they showed her a good time. They pretty much told her, “You kick it with us, you don’t have to worry about your parents. We’ll take care of you. We’re making money. We’re getting all this stuff.” Anne’s buying into this.
Yeardley: [00:23:25] Ain’t nothing for free.
Scott: [00:23:26] Especially in that circle of people. They’re together a few days. Anne decides to try to leave a hotel room. This time, it’s two different guys and Yeti and her, and she tries to leave and they said, “No, you’re not leaving.” She says, “Well, why not? I need to go home. It’s been a few days.” They’re like, “No, no. You got to make us money now.” She says, “Okay, well, like what? You want me to go steal something? I can run your errands. I can do stuff for you.” They’re like, “No, no, no.” They made a sex video with Anne, that day. They said, “We’re going to party some more.” They drank and drank and drank, partied. She said she’d go along with it because she didn’t really want to get beat up or hurt. Next thing you know, her inhibitions are severely loosened. They bring in a video and they have a guy come in who’s part of the gang and he has sex with her right there on the bed.
Dave: [00:24:16] Now, we’re in the course of type of dynamic here where she wanted to leave and they say, “We decide when you get to leave the party. Oh, by the way, because you’re partying with us, this is what you owe us.” Somebody could come back and say, “Well, look, she agreed to do this.” Now, under any other circumstance, she would not have consented to that. She realizes this is a survival tactic, I’m guessing, part of it.
Scott: [00:24:41] Yeah, for sure. Now, she’s going to be placed on a public domain website where people can look at her having sex and the caption will read, “For this good time, contact this number,” and you’re being sold.
Yeardley: [00:24:55] Did she know that?
Scott: [00:24:56] She didn’t know that. As the story progresses, she finds out what website she was put on, and actually went on to the websites and pulled footage. They’re the kind of everyday normal porn sites that people use. These aren’t hidden places. It was very public. Anne ends up telling me now, okay, from that hotel room, then they came to the hotel room in my city. Then she decides to leave. She’s telling everyone, “I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m just going to go to the gas station to get you Cheetos. I’ll be back.” They let her go because now it’s been like three or four days since the video’s made. She’s turned two or three tricks by now. She says, “All right, I’m going to go buy them Cheetos and try to get a bus and go.”
[00:25:45] Well, so she does. She tries to. Little does she know, to the guys that weren’t at the hotel yet were showing up to the room-
Yeardley: [00:25:52] To have sex with her?
Scott: [00:25:53] No, they’re part of the gang. They’re just going to go have a party in the motel room. They see Anne, one of them recognizes her. They come up to her and they don’t know they’re like, forcing her back to the hotel. They didn’t go with the intent of saying, “Hey, where did you go?” They just saw her at the convenience store and said, “Hey, we’ll give you a ride back.” Now, she’s like, “Oh, dang, man. I’m stuck again.”
Dan: [00:26:16] “I can’t get away from these guys.”
Scott: [00:26:16] Yeah, so they go back. She was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be. She was supposed to go to the one of the corners. She went to one way down the street because she was leaving. They find out. “Well, where did you pick her up?” “Oh, we just picked Anne up down off this street and this street down the street this way.” They’re like, “There’s a convenience store literally next to our motel room. You’re supposed to go to that one. You’ve been gone too long, what were you doing?”
Yeardley: [00:26:41] Oh, geez.
Dan: [00:26:41] Anne was, “Nothing, nothing. I just wanted fresh air. I just wanted fresh air.” Then, that led to the fight. I said, “Okay, that makes sense. Now, what do we do?”
Yeardley: [00:26:51] How old is Yeti?
Dan: [00:26:52] Yeti is in her 20s. She’s an active gangster in her mid-20s. She’d been around the block while, she knew what was up. She had connections to some pretty high-level-ranking street gang members, if that’s a thing. Some people with some juice, they call it. Now it’s like, “Okay, well, what do we do?” Obviously, this is not a domestic violence case. At this point, I take Yeti to jail on an assault charge. We end up leaving Yeti in jail to face her charges at court. We release Anne, and send her back home. She lives with her mom, we send her back home. I’m starting to talk a little bit about the human trafficking angle, but really we have just Anne’s words. We don’t have anything else. I go to talk to Martin, because Anne had mentioned Martin is the one that picked her up in the car. I go, “Hey, he’s still in jail on some hold?” or whatever. “We’re going to talk to him, see what he has to say about all this.”
Yeardley: [00:27:49] Martin gave you guys his phone because he was one of the ones who videoed the fight?
Scott: [00:27:56] Yeah. He was on parole. At that time, if you were on parole, you could search stuff like that without getting warrants. Now, there’s more laws on the books where you can’t search their phones and stuff. So, we grabbed his phone. We told him, “Hey, listen, man, we saw the video. You can go down as accessory to attempted murder, man.” He says, “Listen, man, that was no domestic violence. They’re trafficking that chick, man. I knew she was going to leave. I told her to leave. I told her to go to the other one.” We’re like, “Really?” He’s like, “Yeah. I did.”
Yeardley: [00:28:27] You mean Martin is saying that he told Anne to go to the other convenience store, and there, she should get the bus and just leave?
Scott: [00:28:34] Yeah, he’s saying, “They were doing that to Anne. She tried to leave twice, they wouldn’t let her. They did all sorts of things to that poor girl. Enough is enough already. I have a little heart. It was just me her and home girl at the hotel in the room at the time.” He called Yeti home girl. “Yeti took a shower and I told Anne, ‘Hey, bounce.’ I’ll say you went to get some Cheetos and you’ll be back. Just bounce.”
Dave: [00:28:53] Martin’s got a heart.
Scott: [00:28:55] Yeah, Martin’s got a heart. That heart goes away soon, but he has a heart. That’s how she ended up even getting out anyways, because Yeti would have never let her leave, I don’t think. Yeti was pissed, that’s why Yeti in the video she tells Anne, “I don’t give a shit who tells you to leave. I tell you to leave. I’m your boss,” type deal. Martin tells me, “Yeah, man, Yeti’s no joke. She’s the bottom bitch. She’s a bottom bitch.” I had no clue what that meant. I had never worked human trafficking case up to this point. This is the first one I ever worked. I had no clue what this terminology was. I just knew this wasn’t domestic violence.
Dave: [00:29:30] You’re going to have to explain it for our listeners.
Scott: [00:29:32] I asked them, I said, “Well, hey, what’s bottom bitch mean?” He says that bitch about the bottom line. She’s the bottom line. What she says goes, she keeps all their girls in line. If they need something, she gets it for them. They’re stepping out of bounds. She puts them back in balance.” She’s basically the modern-day madam where she’s the heavy. There’s like girls in here that will come and do makeup and talk to them and bring them treats. Then there’s the girls like Yeti, who will come and beat someone down if they’re stepping outside the lines of what they’re supposed to do or told to do. That’s what a bottom bitch is. It’s someone who comes in and sets the line of what’s acceptable for these victims to do.
Yeardley: [00:30:11] Now is Yeti working for someone or is Yeti the whole operation?
Scott: [00:30:17] No, Yeti’s working for someone. What’s interesting is what I found later on, and it’s been some time since I’ve worked a straight-up human trafficking case. But then, from an intelligence I’d gathered talking to task forces, because once I started working this, it opened up the floodgates, and I’m one of those guys, when he jumps in, he jumps all in. So, I wanted to be the expert, I wanted to be the man to go to for human trafficking. I reached out and left no stone unturned in finding out how I could be the best human trafficking detective out there. I learned that most of these bottom bitches themselves, were once in the position of being the victim, and that they had worked their favor up. Now, they had this kind of Stockholm syndrome where they now became loved and respected and felt, “Oh, you’re giving me more privileges and responsibilities, so I’ll help you guys out. I’m not the one o having to turn it tricks anymore.”
When Yeti told me earlier that she had been herself caused to do these things, now I thought, “Oh, maybe she did tell me the truth and she worked her way up to be the bottom bitch.” I’m starting to see this thing. She works for a major gang. Gangs are like corporations. They make money all sorts of ways. A good organization doesn’t just make money one way. Think of someone like 3M or Disney or someone like that. They do multiple things that bring them money. Gangs are just like that.
[00:31:45] They have specialized gangsters that go out and steal cars and run chop shops. They have specialized gangsters that act as security. There’re specialized gangsters that run the dope on the streets. Some of those guys are jacks of all trade. The deep, good gangs, the generational gangs, the ones that have been around a while, they know where to go to for the chop shops, they know where to go to for the dope, they know where to go to for the guns, they know where to go to hide something. They have specialties. Now one of those specialties is human trafficking.
Dave: [00:32:12] They diversify the portfolio.
Scott: [00:32:14] Right.
Yeardley: [00:32:15] Just to clarify, you’re saying that the old school gangs, the ones that are generations deep, used to outsource all that stuff, drugs, chop shops, all that. But now, everyone, even the old school gangs, build their own empires by keeping all that business in-house, because that’s more efficient, it’s more profitable, etc.?
Scott: [00:32:39] Right. Martin starts to tell us a little bit about this. “Hey, man, Yeti works with so and so and so and so, brother and sister who are big into human trafficking, and they run 30, 40 girls, man, out of motels, all throughout these cities.” I was like, “Oh.”
Yeardley: [00:33:07] Hey, Producer Nick.
Nick: [00:33:09] Hello, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:33:10] Let’s talk HelloFresh. Small Town Fam, HelloFresh is a great food delivery service where you get fresh, premeasured ingredients and mouthwatering seasonal recipes delivered right to your door.
Nick: [00:33:23] HelloFresh offers more than 25 recipes to choose from each week from vegetarian meals to craft burgers and extra-special gourmet options.
Yeardley: [00:33:32] Which brings me to my first question, Nick Smitty, what’s on the menu tonight?
Nick: [00:33:37] Today, I am bringing you the Rainbow Thai Noodle Toss.
Yeardley: [00:33:42] Ah! Yes, please! It sounds delicious.
Nick: [00:33:46] Because it is. I can’t tell you enough about my rainbow Thai noodle toss, and it’s a vegetarian meal myself. Not so much a vegetarian, but I didn’t miss the meat at all. I’m giving this Rainbow Thai noodle toss an A plus.
Yeardley: [00:33:58] A plus Small Town Fam. HelloFresh is fresh ingredients are sourced directly from growers and delivered from the farm to your front door in under a week, contact free of course.
Nick: [00:34:11] Plus, HelloFresh cuts out stressful meal planning and grocery store trips, so you can enjoy your cooking and get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes or less.
Yeardley: [00:34:19] Because cooking really should be fun. It shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a great time to create something delicious that you can then share with the whole family. So, Small Town Fam, go to hellofresh.com/smalltown12 and use that code, SMALLTOWN12, for 12 free meals including free shipping. What!?
Nick: [00:34:39] Yeah, go to hellofresh.com/smalltown12 and use code, SMALLTOWN12, for 12 free meals, including free shipping.
Yeardley: [00:34:48] Then, once you’ve done that, we’re all going to work to Producer Nick’s house for dinner.
Nick: [00:34:52] Great. I just need to set the table now for 12 million people.
Yeardley: [00:34:57] [laughs] I know you got this. Do it![music]
Scott: [00:35:13] Now, what Martin was trying to do is he’s trying to avoid this dope beef that he has because he’s a previously reported felon. He’s like, “I don’t want anything to do with this. I don’t even like this.” He was right, he didn’t. He had nothing to do with the trafficking organization per se.
Yeardley: [00:35:13] Why was he there?
Scott: [00:35:28] Well, he was the dope guy. His specialty is narcotics. They had narcotics in the room. He was bringing them narcotics. When you go there, and it’s your gang, you’re going to party up a little bit, he picks up this girl because he’s seen her before. He knows what they’re doing.
Yeardley: [00:35:44] It’s interesting that Martin picks Anne up, and then shortly afterward tells her, “Now’s your chance to escape.” What is that?
Scott: [00:35:53] He picked her up the first time, the second time, Anne got picked up from the store was two different guys. Martin’s there as a dope source that day. He’s the one that brought, I think it was methamphetamine there. He tells us more story. We’re like, “Okay.” Now this time, we ended up letting him go through on this drug charge and took the statements for this case. I start to reach out to these different task forces that are working human trafficking. “Hey, what do I do here, guys? How do I investigate this?”
Dave: [00:36:21] Oh, you don’t know what you don’t know about having to build these cases.
Scott: [00:36:24] Yeah, I had no clue. We have another instance now.
Yeardley: [00:36:29] Another instance?
Scott: [00:36:30] Yeah. A few days go by, the case goes to court. Yeti gets charged with assault, a simple assault. They don’t charge her with assault with a deadly weapon for having the knife. They just charged her with the simple assault, partly because we’re having troubles getting Anne to come to court and to talk. It was a struggle. They said, “Hey, we’re just going to take her on simple assault, because we can’t get your victim, Anne, to talk and to clarify some of these things.” Yes, the videos striking, right? That’s good evidence, but in the video, Anne does attempt to fight back at first, she just gets overpowered. Now it’s like a–
Dan: [00:37:08] Mutual combat.
Scott: [00:37:09] Mutual combat. Exactly.
Yeardley: [00:37:11] Did you say mutual?
Dan: [00:37:13] Yeah. It’s like two people agreeing to fight.
Yeardley: [00:37:15] Is that a technical law enforcement term, mutual combat?
Dan: [00:37:20] It’s commonly used in law enforcement, but the argument from the defense side is going to be well, they’re both engaging in it. It’s not just an assault, they’re both agreeing to fight and that’s what you’re seeing. One of them’s losing.
Yeardley: [00:37:33] But that doesn’t matter.
Dan: [00:37:35] Yeah, that’s the argument.
Yeardley: [00:37:37] Okay.
Scott: [00:37:38] Yeti gets out. The other two parolees get out. They all go back to a man named Andy, and a girl named Gina. Andy and Gina are brother and sister. Andy’s a very prominent gang member for this particular gang. His sister is ruthless as well. Their parents are ruthless. It’s a gang member family. Andy oversaw multiple different specialties of this gang. He oversaw what was happening in the human trafficking aspect. He helped run some chop shops. Gina was in charge of overseeing all these girls being run, and she used people like Yeti to be her bouncer, her bottom bitch. She had three of them, but one of them was Yeti. You kind of see the hierarchy now.
Dave: [00:38:30] Yeah, I’m seeing chief operations officer is Andy, and now you’ve got a supervisor, one of three is Yeti.
Scott: [00:38:40] Yes. Now, we just have to prove this. I get with Varsity, I say, “Hey, we need to start doing some surveillance on Andy and Gina’s house. See what they do on a daily basis.” About four or five days into this, Anne shows up at the police department. Beat down, beat down, missing tooth, burns, ligature marks. I mean, severely injured. I go, “Come on in. Sit down. What’s going on? Yeti got out, and she found you again, huh?” She goes, “Yeah, that was my fault.” I go, “What do you mean it’s your fault?” “I went back. I’m just having a hard time at home. I can’t stand my parents. I just went back.”
Yeardley: [00:39:26] Are her parents abusive?
Scott: [00:39:28] No, she’s addicted to drugs. She’s got a drug problem. Her parents, they’re actually nice, good people that are trying to help, and older school, Latin family, dad’s kind of , “No, my way, my house, my rules. I don’t care if you’re 10 or if you’re 24. You’re not doing anything with your life. You’re not bringing that crap to my house, get out.” Tough love. She gets out, so she meets back up, and it’s really Gina who’s the one that facilitates Anne getting back with Yeti. Now, they want to know what she said. “Why did Anne not go to jail for this too? Why does she not have a simple assault charge on her, too? What did you say? Hey, and you know what? Andy thinks he saw some guys following them and maybe cops, so what the hell did you say?”
[00:40:16] They take her to another motel room in an adjacent city and they tie her to a chair. She had ligature marks on her hands, on her feet. They tied her to the chair, and they started a burner with a meth pipe all throughout her body. They punch her. They whittled her neck with a knife. They whittled her side with a knife right just slowly but surely digging it in there. They caused her to do some drugs. Gina’s overseeing this the entire time at the motel. She’s the one that’s facilitating the torture. It’s torture, we charged them with torture. She is torturing Anne with Yeti and another male present. Yeti and the male leave. Gina goes downstairs to make a phone call, and Anne manages to get out. Anne’s able to exit the motel room half naked and get to the manager of the motel. He has like a station, like a little room. She runs to the managers, rings the bell, it’s at night, he opens it up and sees this half naked, beaten down girl and says, “Oh, come in. I’m calling the cops.” She actually convinces him not to call the cops but to call her sister. So, they call the sister, the sister picks her up, takes her home. In the morning, they come straight to the police department.
Dave: [00:41:37] Probably with some convincing by the sister because Anne knows what happened the last time she went to the cops, she ends up at this hotel. So, I’m sure the sister did some persuasive speaking overnight.
Scott: [00:41:50] Yeah, there was more push than not from the sister, but Anne did recognize that she needed help. She said, “They were going to kill me. They were talking about burning me. They were talking about where they’re going to take me. They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me. They think I told on everything.” Really Anne didn’t tell about the structure, Martin did. It was bad. She didn’t even gone to the doctor yet. We took her to the doctor, got her patched up a little bit. She had really nasty burns on her face, her neck, her arms, her forearms, her legs. She said what they were doing is they were smoking methamphetamine getting the pookie, The pookie is the glass pipe that stores are allowed to sell under the guise of oil burners, which boggles my mind.
Dave: Right. They’re unmistakable-looking pipes. Every time you see them, you’re like, “Okay.”
Scott: [00:42:37] Yeah, has a bulb on the end, and along straw like glass cylinder that leads to the bulb. Anyways, they were smoking meth the whole time. When they would get super-hot, they’d stick it on her, ask her some questions. They got a pretty good, cut her hair all patchy, yanked her hair out.
Dan: [00:42:55] Just completely beat her down and humiliate her.
Scott: [00:42:58] Humiliated and tortured her. I say, “Okay, I’m going to put you in to a safe house.”
Yeardley: [00:43:06] Because you feel her testimony is good enough that you might be able to bring down some really high-level gang people.
Scott: [00:43:14] Yep. In that particular instance, Anne absolves Yeti from knowing about the beatdown that bad only that she’s there because Yeti came, she saw there, they talked, they slapped around again. But then, Yeti left. Then it was Gina and the guy who did the serious damage after Yeti’s gone.
Yeardley: [00:43:40] Do you believe that?
Scott: [00:43:41] I do believe that, and this is why I believe that. By this time now, a few days have passed, we start to develop some leads, we started develop some people where they would go during the day and who they visit, stuff like that. It came down that Yeti was managing multiple females, multiple motel rooms, and she would never be in one spot at a long time. She’d come here, do her job, go to the next one, do her job. Facilitate the guys going to the hotel rooms, make sure that the girl is cool with the guy in the room and then swap rooms. She did so many other things. I think Anne was telling us the truth by then. Matter of fact, when Anne comes in, I say, “Hey, we’ve got to go to the hotel room and see if there’s anything left in there,” after the torture.
We go, we get surveillance video. We get clean surveillance video of Yeti leaving, but of Gina going into the hotel room and then Gina and the guy coming out talking going back into the hotel room. There’s clean video of the guy leaving and then Gina coming out, walking down the stairs on her phone and then Anne escaping, there’s clean video of that. It corroborated what she was telling us and that Yeti wasn’t quite there. Yeti, to avoid prosecution and kidnap and torture, she actually comes back to the station and says, “I’ve been a victim the whole time. They’re going to beat my ass and kill me too,” because we don’t know a lot about these cases, we buy into the story that Yeti’s being caused by these really scary known gangsters to act this way.
Yeardley: [00:45:14] Fear and force as you say.
Scott: [00:45:15] Right. She ends up talking to our victim’s advocate. I wasn’t there, so another detective was there overseeing it, and they buy the story, and they end up putting Yeti into a safehouse.
Yeardley: [00:45:28] Not the same safehouse.
Scott: [00:45:30] The same-
Yeardley: [00:45:31] Oh, no.
Scott: [00:45:31] -federal safehouse. Yes.
Dave: [00:45:34] Anne sees her walk through the door, like, “Motherfucker.”
Scott: [00:45:38] They left together within one night, they hopped the wall and they bounced. We got a call the next day, and it’s crazy, because the one thing they told us when we put them there is, “We’ll house them, we can’t make them stay here. This is totally voluntary on their part. We don’t chase, we don’t notify. Nothing.”
Dave: [00:45:58] Because they’re not in custody.
Scott: [00:46:00] Because they’re not in custody. We provide living arrangements for him. We provide them necessities for life or whatever. We’ll even teach them some classes, but it’s all voluntary. They don’t want to come class, they don’t have to come to class. That’s the resources that’s there. When I say safe house, I don’t mean under 24-hour watch from law enforcement and stuff like that. No, this is just the house that no one knows the address. They don’t even give the address out. Lucky enough, the lady who took Anne, calls us and says, “Hey, I just wanted you to know, I mean, this is kind of outside our bounds, but they left together.”
Yeardley: [00:46:31] You mean the woman who is in charge of the safehouse?
Scott: [00:46:34] The woman who came and picked up Anne from the police department to take her to the safehouse, she knew a little bit about the case, because Anne had opened up to her. She says, “Hey, they left together.” First off, that’s a no-no. We should have had much better oversight in placement.
Dave: [00:46:49] They should never end up at the same place.
Scott: [00:46:51] Yeah. Looking back at it, and then going to talk to the advocate especially, she’s like, “Listen, Scott, I didn’t even make the connection that that’s where you sent Anne. I didn’t even know.” I go, “Yeah, I get it. I get it.” You wouldn’t, nor did I tell her. This is just who’s on our list of places we can send domestic violence victims, sexual assault victims, they got an opening, take them. I thought maybe later on down in this case, if you’ve ever to get to court, which it did, we would catch hell for that. That ended up being that’s a trackable, honest mistake, that was done in good faith. There was nothing nefarious about it.
Dan: [00:47:24] It wasn’t because of incompetence or negligence.
Scott: [00:47:27] Yeah, I think there’s maybe two safe houses in the county we work in, there’s two safe houses that you can use, and they’re full 90% of the time. It’s slim pickings here too. It’s not like there’s vast amount of resources for this. Yeti and Anne end up leaving, which scares us. Nothing bad happens to Anne, but with all that footage, we have a great human trafficking case, a great kidnap and torture case, a great case against Gina, and this other male, and Yeti, as well. She was there, she actually came in and said, “Yeah, I knew that they took her to the hotel room, but I don’t know what they did to her. I left, but when I went back, they said all hell broke loose.” I was like, “Ah, right,” hearing her story now, but they bought into it. She gets to the safe house, they ended up running away together.
Anne contacts her mom. Her mom calls us. We went and picked up Anne again. We were able to get Anne again. We actually took her to a completely different county and held her at a little bit more of a–
Dave: [00:48:33] More controlled access.
Scott: [00:48:35] Yeah, where her parents were now involved in keeping her there as well. It was more of an institution where you could go and seek help for mental issues you had, drug addictions. It wasn’t like a sexual assault, domestic violence shelter house. This is more of a controlled, “We will know your movements now.” Still had no clue where Yeti went. We end up getting arrest warrants on Gina, Yeti, and four other people that are involved. We have done multiple surveillances on Yeti. We seen her go in, we stopped the johns. We did a bunch of stuff.
Yeardley: [00:49:06] What about Andy?
Scott: [00:49:07] Andy was safe up to this point. We had not made a good connection with him, other than what Martin told us. Good on Martin. Martin gets out of jail. We had thought he would cooperate with us. We give him our business cards. He seemed he had that, “Hey, man, I just do what I had to do because I’m undocumented, and I can’t really get a job and I grew up in the area, and I felt like my chances are limited so I just went with what was going to provide for my family.” I can empathize with that. “Okay, okay, we’ll help you out.” But he never did. He went back and ended up still doing his drug thing. We contacted him to be a witness in this case. He was like, “Yeah, sure. No.” [chuckles] He was in the wind, we can never find them ever again. I have no clue where Martin went.
Yeardley: [00:49:55] Really?
Scott: [00:49:56] No. We had good statements on the dude, recorded interviews and stuff but you need him there in court.
Dave: [00:50:01] Now, it’s all hearsay.
Yeardley: [00:50:03] I think I’ve asked this question probably 10 times over the course of this podcast. Why is it hearsay if Martin himself is on tape saying what happened, and you’re not getting an account of what happened from a third party?
Dave: [00:50:18] Because the defense has a right to question that witness. If they’re not able to do that, then it’s ruled as hearsay.
Yeardley: [00:50:25] Even though you have a firsthand account on a legitimate recording?
Dave: [00:50:30] Yeah. The defense can try to pick that apart, and if they’re not given that opportunity, then it’s not admissible.
Yeardley: [00:50:36] Wow. Okay.
Scott: [00:50:38] Yeah. We still have Anne, and we still have the video footage. We have all our injuries. We have a good case here. After surveillance putting the package together and again, working with the district attorney’s office, the special prosecutors over gang cases, we charged them with human trafficking. There’s four counts of human trafficking. There was torturing, kidnap with intent to commit a felony, which is a live case. We had a bunch of stuff on these people. Prelim comes. We have Anne at the court. We do an interview with the DA, we get everything ready, all the defense get brought in, and the lunch hour comes, so we take a break for lunch. Anne is there in the court in the district attorney’s office talking to the victims’ advocate at the DA’s office, starting to fill out victim compensation paperwork. All the paperwork that goes along with getting resources again to further [unintelligible] help from the county as opposed to our city. There’s a difference. There’s a lot more in the county than our city. She’s filling out all that stuff, and we go up to have a quick hearing prior to lunch, thinking Anne’s in good hands. We get back down and Anne left.
Yeardley: [00:51:46] No!
Scott: [00:51:46] Anne left. We searched and searched and searched. Mom had no clue where she went. She’s gone. To this day, I have no clue where Anne went.
Nick: [00:52:05] Hey,Yeardley, what are you doing?
Yeardley: [00:52:07] I’m playing Best Fiends.
Nick: [00:52:09] Best Fiends, what’s that?
Yeardley: [00:52:11] Best Fiends is my favorite match three puzzle game. Okay, so here’s the premise. The bugs defeat the slugs. There’s a few different slugs. Sometimes they’re underwater, sometimes they were like a clear space bubble hat kind of thing, but they don’t really have a wardrobe. Meanwhile, the bugs have all kinds of clothes and hats and glasses and little accessories, and they dance when you choose them, and they dance when you win. Then when they deploy their powers, they wind up.
Nick: [00:52:41] Dancing bugs and slugs with powers, sounds like my kind of game.
Yeardley: [00:52:44] Also, one of the great things about Best Fiends is that you can play it even when you don’t have any Wi-Fi. You could play it in a submarine if you needed to. And they’re constantly creating new challenges, new levels, so you never get bored. There’s a little road to follow. You’re trying to get up the road.
Nick: [00:53:03] Where does the road go?
Yeardley: [00:53:04] I don’t know where the road goes because I haven’t reached the end of the road yet. Small Town Fam, download Best Fiends for free today on the Apple App Store or Google Play. You won’t be sorry, I’m telling you. When you take a break from your guilty pleasure like peanut butter jelly sandwiches or the latest Netflix’s true crime series, you’ll be glad that you have the Best Fiends on your phone. That’s friends without the R. Best Fiends. Do it!
Scott: [00:53:44] Now, here’s the conundrum. How do you stop this from happening in a justice system that’s supposed to protect victims? Research suggests that victims of domestic violence and victims of sexual assault, the victimology mirrors that of those that have Stockholm syndrome. They can actually end up becoming a supporter of their predator, they end up sympathizing with them. That’s what Stockholm syndrome is. Right?
Yeardley: [00:54:11] Right. Just to play devil’s advocate, while research might in fact conclude that these victims come to support or bond with their abuser, like in Stockholm syndrome, the very nature of research is that it reflects a majority finding. It doesn’t have the tools to address individual circumstances. I’m just saying that because I’m sure there are plenty of survivors out there who feel, like, “I never bonded with or supported my abuser. I just couldn’t leave because I feared for my life. I thought he was going to kill me, and that’s why I stayed.”
Scott: [00:54:48] Of course. In domestic violence, most state legislators have come to the agreeance that you can have a preliminary hearing without the victim. You can pursue a charge and have a trial without the victim. It’s called the Crawford exceptions, Crawford v. Washington. A Crawford exception states, if you have overwhelming evidence that this crime occurred. Overwhelming evidence for Crawford purposes would be, for example, it’s not a complete enumeration of the Crawford exceptions. These are some of the big ones, 911 phone calls, witness statements, medical history, and injuries. If you can meet all those criteria, the victim never has to show up to court because of the victimology of a domestic violence victim.
Yeardley: [00:55:39] Which is that the victim may be too terrified to testify against their abuser. Or they might be reluctant because they actually want to protect their abuser, but either way.
Scott: [00:55:49] Yeah, so if we can do that for domestic violence case, and their victimology is the same for sexual assault victim’s case, or the same victimology for a human trafficking victim’s case, why do we have to have them present for a prelim hearing? That was my argument. The judge wasn’t having any part of it, because that’s not on the books. I since became a huge advocate to allow Crawford exceptions to open up the scope of not just domestic violence, but also sexual assault and human trafficking, should you have an overabundance of evidence to suggest it happen. It was very sad to see these gangsters walk out of the courtroom, because we couldn’t hold a preliminary hearing because the victim freaked out and away.
Dave: [00:56:38] You don’t get the exception, the charges by default, they have to be dropped because we’re not falling into these exceptions?
Scott: [00:56:46] Case dismissed. Six people facing life for human trafficking, kidnap with intent to torture or commit a felony, out in the streets.
Dave: [00:56:56] Because they have the right to confront their accuser.
Yeardley: [00:56:59] Who in this case is Anne.
Scott: [00:57:00] Yeah, she ran away from a safe house with these people. She went back after being beat with these people. This is classic victimology here.
Dan: [00:57:07] Even if it’s not Stockholm syndrome, she’s just terrified that she’s probably going to be murdered.
Scott: [00:57:13] Yeah. She sees these people as her family. You can’t even get in court and testify against your family member or your spouse. If this is the same victimology, they’re experiencing the same psychological effects as a victim. Oh, but it’s not domestic violence, it’s something else.
Yeardley: [00:57:31] The result is the same.
Scott: [00:57:33] The result’s the same, it’s the same victimology.
Dave: [00:57:36] Yeti’s just the same type of care provider as a parent or guardian in that situation.
Scott: [00:57:40] Yeah, she’s laying down the rules.
Dave: [00:57:42] Anne’s in the wind.
Scott: [00:57:44] Anne’s gone.
Dave: [00:57:45] Yeti, Andy, Gina, Martin, all in the wind.
Scott: [00:57:49] Well, Gina is actually in prison for murder.
Yeardley: [00:57:52] Oh.
Scott: [00:57:52] I got called about four months after this case from a homicide detective. He said, “Hey, I ran this name through this clearinghouse deconfliction database that most officers use in cases like this, because you’re trying to connect to different states to different agencies working the same people, and I noticed your name was on here for human trafficking. Hey, have your girl on the hook for pulling the trigger in this murder.” I go, “Dude, can we throw in a kidnapping?”
Dan: [00:58:25] Right, Gina’s hardcore.
Scott: [00:58:26] I actually provided him all of our evidence, including the video, the pictures, everything. They actually used some of that in their preparation and creating a packet of who this lady really was.
Dan: [00:58:38] This is a pattern of behavior for her. Potentially, what you’re trying to do when you go to trial there is if you can establish a pattern of behavior, you can use prior bad acts against her while you’re prosecuting her.
Scott: [00:58:51] Yeah.
Dave: [00:58:52] Anne’s case isn’t a total loss, and that plays into Gina’s later murder conviction to some extent.
Yeardley: [00:58:59] Did Gina commit this murder after she walked free in the Anne case? Or, was it before and then they found out after she walked free from the Anne case?
Scott: [00:59:09] The murder occurred prior to the case with Anne and they were investigating her the entire time we were, and she was arrested and convicted after the dismissal.
Yeardley: [00:59:20] Oh, wow!
Dan: [00:59:22] Anne’s family, do they have any idea where she is?
Scott: [00:59:24] The last time I talked to the mother was maybe nine months to a year after the dismissal. It was one of those things where I was working another human trafficking case, and she just kept coming across my mind. What else could we have done? Being in the same safehouse really ruined it. There’s a lot of things that I think we could have done, even the first safehouse like maybe we should have just kept with her parents. I don’t know. There’s things we could have maybe tried to do. She was always on my mind, so I called back the mom once and asked, “Hey, have you heard from Anne?” She says, “Yeah, I hear from time to time. She moved to different states, she was living some extended family and who knows what she was doing there. She’s still nibbling and dabbling with drugs and having a problem. Who knows what she’s doing in that different state?” but she was no longer under the control of Yeti.
Dave: [01:00:13] Any further contact with Yeti?
Scott: [01:00:14] No, nothing.
Dave: [01:00:15] Huh, maybe you helped rehabilitate her.
Scott: [01:00:18] Yeah. I sent Varsity had a few times just to follow them around, see what they’re doing. They came up with some stuff and forwarded some pictures to some other agencies of stuff they’d seen. I’d venture to say if I ran her name, she’d be in jail or something.
Yeardley: [01:00:30] Oh, Scott. Well, thanks for advocating for Anne anyway, even though she ran away.
Scott: [01:00:37] Twice. [laughs]
Yeardley: [01:00:38] Yeah, twice.
Dave: [01:00:39] That case, that was your first human trafficking case, and you probably learned so much from it. You learned from mistakes, and you learned from things that you did well, but those ones do stick with you where you shoulda, woulda, coulda, and if I knew then what I know now.
Scott: [01:00:53] Yeah, I come back to why is it so difficult to prosecute those cases? Why do they make it so difficult to prosecute those cases? Everyone wants to be an advocate for that, because it’s a hot topic, but people don’t do anything for it. Yeah, you can raise some money and open up a big house with 12 rooms to have people housed. But in the end, if that person runs away from the courtroom, what’d you spend your money on? Why don’t you spend your money in Washington trying to create some legislation that actually really does work? Those Crawford exceptions are there, they just can’t be used for certain crimes. Only one, domestic violence.
Dave: [01:01:33] Suspects are never on the hook for anything, so they never have to account for it.
Scott: [01:01:37] Yeah, it’s crazy to me, man.
Yeardley: [01:01:38] That is crazy. Thank you so much for being here. What an incredible story.
Scott: [01:01:44] Thank you.
Dave: [01:01:45] Thank you, Scott.
Dan: [01:01:46] Thank you.
Yeardley: [01:01:52] Hey, Small Town Fam. I want to give you a little newsy update. We’ll technically be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks, but you will still have plenty to listen to in the in-between. For instance, we have a bonus episode coming up from our friend, Joe Kenda, and nuggets of joy on Patreon. I’m actually thinking of one in particular that I think will make you grin from ear to ear. I still can’t believe I got Detective Dan to play along. When we come back for the second half of our regular season on April 30, we return to Scotland. Yes! Set your calendar alerts. We’re so excited. Thank you for being here. We’ll see you so soon.
Yeardley: [01:02:42] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Sorin Begin, Gary Scott, and me Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [01:03:10] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
Yeardley: [01:03:17] Small Town Dicks would like to thank SpeechDocs for providing transcripts of this podcast. You can find these transcripts on our episode page at smalltowndicks.com. For more information about SpeechDocs and their service, please go to speechdocs.com.
Dan: [01:03:34] And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @smalltowndicks. We love hearing from you. And if you support us on Patreon, your subscription will give you access to exclusive content and merchandise that isn’t available anywhere else. Go to patreon.com/smalltowndickspodcast.
Yeardley: [01:03:54] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dave: [01:04:01] -in search of the finest rare true crime cases told-
Dan: [01:04:04] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [01:004:08] Thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [01:04:10] Nobody’s better than you.