This is a heart-wrenching story in which a mother speaks out about her daughter being taken into a sex trafficking ring. The pain, the fear and the sick feeling of helplessness can be heard in the taped interview at the bottom of the article. We applaud this woman for being so strong and brave for her daughter, for herself and for everyone out there who is living this nightmare, still.
Mary, you are a beautiful voice of hope for others and we love you, support you and admire you.
“Mary” (not her real name) is a mother of four, living in Napa Valley. She had a tough time as a single mother of four children, with no help at all from family, friends or from their father. After being kicked out of a rental house belonging to her mother in 2004, because she couldn’t keep up with the rent, Mary and her children moved into a shared family housing shelter. Soon after, Mary began to suffer from agoraphobia. She could not leave her bedroom. She even lost her job due to this terrifying disorder.
Eventually, Mary felt that it was unfair for her children to have to go through agoraphobia with her, so she sent them to stay with her mother until she could get the disorder under control. After going through an even deeper depression, she finally found her strength through her faith to pull herself up. Mary states,
“I am where I am today and have the strength that I have because of everything that I have been through in my life. I wouldn’t change one event… because I wouldn’t be who I am now if I did. Life is very much like the movie V for Vengeance.
If God had set me down and told me, “So this is what you are going to be learning in the next couple of years so that you can fulfill your purpose in life,” I wouldn’t have learned everything that I have learned since 2003, in the same way as I did. I wouldn’t be as effective helping Parents fight against CPS in the way that I do now. God wouldn’t have sent me down the paths that I have traveled nor will he send me down a path in my future if He wasn’t confident that I could handle whatever awaits me ahead. He has given me hope and faith as my weapons and I wear the armour of God, what more do I need?”
Mary’s children went to live with her mother when “Sally” (not her daughter’s real name) was 11 years old. At that time, Sally was very confident in the person she was. Mary called Sally a leader. She did well in school and didn’t really care what others thought of her. However, when the children came back 2 years later, Sally was just turning 13. She seemed to lack that confidence she once had. She seemed to be more of a follower than a leader. She wanted desperately to fit in by dressing a certain way and wearing brand name clothes. Her friends had changed and she was very bothered by what others said or thought of her. Her grades were also low and she was having trouble in school.
Mary put Sally in school at Valley Oak High School, where her grades began to climb and she began to gain her self confidence back. However, this would be a pivotal time in Sally’s life, as she was introduced to TM (his initials) by her boyfriend.
Sally was around 17 years old when she met TM for the first time. TM had a dark side. He liked drugs, he liked sex and he pimped out young girls. Sally’s boyfriend either didn’t realize all of the things TM was into, or he didn’t think TM would do it to Sally, but either way, he was wrong.
2013 proved to be a very challenging year for the family, as Mary lost both of her parents and many close friends that year. Because of these tragedies, Sally fell victim to depression, as many teenagers do. This was around the time that Sally began to come up missing, sometimes for days at a time, and Mary began to worry. Mary says she had caught Sally in an inebriated state a few times and she suspected she was self-medicating with various drugs to numb her pain from the recent losses she had suffered.
Mary says that she and Sally are both Empaths, and they feel other people’s pain very heavily. In the beginning, it is very difficult to separate your own pain from that of others around you. It can be very distracting and confusing. As an Empath myself, I know exactly what she is talking about. Mary was also worried about Sally learning about all of the emotions she was experiencing.
Then, one day, Mary found a contact number that Sally had. When Mary called the number, it went into a voicemail system where you could either enter the phone number of the person you wanted to leave a message for or enter your own phone number to hear messages left for you. Mary knew this was the way some pimps kept track of their girls, and she began to get very worried and very scared for Sally.
The first time Mary ever saw physical signs that pointed to the danger her daughter might be in was when Sally came home with a sore throat. Mary said Sally had always had issues with swelling tonsils, so she didn’t think much of it. However, she did have suspicions that Sally may have been experimenting with methamphetamines at this time.
As Mary was trying to ease Sally’s sore throat, she noticed that Sally’s hands looked very dirty. She went to get a washcloth to wash the dirt from her hands, but she couldn’t wash it away. What that turned out to be, was bruises. Later, the same thing would happen when Sally was admitted to the hospital. The nurses tried to remove the “dirt” from her hands, and realized it was bruising. She also had bruising on her neck.
TM pulled Sally in with free drugs. Then suddenly the drugs stopped being free and Sally “owed” TM. At that point, Sally was told she would have to work it off. And that seems to be where it all started. Sally became entangled in this sticky web of drugs and sex that she was unable to leave because the men threatened her continuously. Not only did she fear for her own life, but they also threatened the safety of her family.
Things got so deep for Sally, that the trafficking ring she had been pulled into was about to take her out of state. Sally somehow convinced them to let her stop at a trailer park where a friend of Mary’s lived. She got away from TM and ran to the friend’s house and managed to stay hidden until they left. She had so many bruises on her, the friend took her to the nearby hospital and contacted Mary to let her know.
Mary states that her husband had the car, so she called another friend to ask if she could take her to the hospital. While getting ready to go, she had the police scanner on and she recalls hearing a call come over the scanner that mentioned dispatching an officer to the hospital to take pictures of a possible rape victim. They also dispatched officers to the area near where Mary lived in case of possible retaliation.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Mary was devastated to see finger marks around her daughter’s neck, as well as bruises on the tops and bottoms of both her hands and feet. The pictures that were supplied by Mary are a little blurry, but here are a few that she allowed me to use:
This photo shows a long bruise approximately 1.5 inches long between Sally’s thumb and forefinger. She had to have an IV set up immediately, as she was very dehydrated.
This photo shows many bruises on the tops of her hands, on top of her pinky finger was a bruise at every knuckle. Her other hand shows bruises on her fingertips.
After Sally was released from the hospital, Mary took her to give statements to the police. She was asked to come back to the station a second time and give another statement. A lot of information was given to the police during those visits. After her statements were concluded, and Mary was assured by the Napa Valley Police Department that they would not need anything further from her, Sally had to be convinced by her brother, that she had to leave, for the family’s safety and for her own safety. Sally was then sent out of state.
After about a month, Mary called the police department to see how the investigation was coming along. She was told that they didn’t have enough evidence to look into the crime. Mary was devastated, as this was in direct contrast to what she had been told earlier.
Other information continued to come out that brought about big concerns for Mary. She found out that one of the men who had abducted Sally and had been selling her as a sex slave was connected to the Napa Valley PD. He had been seen speaking on friendly terms with officers by witnesses.
As Mary delved deeper into what she feared was a cover up of these terrible crimes, her fears were coming true. She knew of a young woman who had been raped, in which a pregnancy resulted. The young girl went to the police, but they did not believe her and refused an investigation. After her baby was born, she filed for a restraining order against the man who raped her to keep him from coming near her or her baby. Napa Valley CPS got involved, revoking the mother’s rights to the child and giving the rapist-father visitation instead.
Even further down the rabbit hole took her to a cold case that happened in 1963, in which the body of a 5 year old child, named Doreen Heskett, was found in the back yard of Bucky Stewart, who was the District Attorney at that time. He was never charged for the crime.
It is listed as the oldest cold case of Napa County. The child’s remains were recovered eight months later. The Napa Register reported on the case when a cold case unit was formed several years ago. It wasn’t until 2014, that an article detailing the case was posted on Crime Magazine.
See more on this cold case HERE in which a woman who claims she was also attacked and raped by Bucky Stewart tells her story.