A 16-year-old girl kidnapped from southern Kentucky on Saturday night was locked in the back of a rental truck, trafficked and sexually assaulted before Cincinnati police discovered her on Sunday, according to deputies from her home in Knox County.
Three adults — Michael Nason, Tiffany Cheek and Carl Hickman of Corbin — took the girl, with Cheek luring her under the false pretense of being her legal guardian, deputies said. The girl was then locked in the back of the truck with Nason, 34, where deputies said he assaulted her.
Cincinnati officers found her Sunday in the back of the parked U-Haul truck. While attempting to confirm her identity, they searched a nationwide database — one that generated a "hit" alerting Knox County deputies she had been found.
Authorities didn't know the extent of the trio's crimes until the girl was reunited with her family, according to Knox County Deputy Hunter Luttrell, so Cincinnati officers initially arrested only Hickman, 27, on drug charges.
"Once (the family) got her back, the story she told them led to more arrests," Luttrell said.
At that point, Knox County deputies arrested the other two.
Nason is charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, custodial interference, human trafficking, rape, unlawful imprisonment and trafficking in a controlled substance.
Twenty-nine-year-old Cheek and Hickman are each charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, custodial interference, kidnapping, human trafficking, unlawful imprisonment and trafficking in a controlled substance.
Hickman is also charged in Cincinnati with obstructing official business, possession of drugs, two counts of illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possessing drug abuse instruments.
Nason and Cheek are being held in the Knox County Jail and are due in court April 25. Hickman is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center with extradition back to Kentucky pending.