Details emerge about suspected human trafficking of 13-year-old girl

Details emerge about suspected human trafficking of 13-year-old girl »Play Video
Ramada Inn in Bakersfield, Calif., is seen Monday, April 8, 2013. A 22-year-old man allegedly committed sex acts with a 13-year-old girl at the hotel over the winter.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A 13-year-old girl was allegedly paid $30 to meet a man at a Bakersfield motel, where he forced her into sex acts. Investigators say a woman at the motel tried to convince the teenager to work as a prostitute for the suspect.

Police say Jerome Henderson, 22, paid the girl on Jan. 31 to meet him at a motel. They allegedly met at a Ramada Inn in Bakersfield.

Officers say the victim and a witness later identified Henderson in a photo lineup. The girl reported the incident to authorities on Feb. 4.

According to investigation reports obtained by Eyewitness News, the girl told officers she knew the suspect as "Tech." While at the motel room with him, the teenager said the suspect told her she could make him a lot of money.

"When the victim asked him how she would make the money Henderson did not provide her with an answer," the report reads. But, investigators say the girl said there was also a woman in the motel room.

"While the victim was in the hotel room a white female, Vannessa Burgess, spoke to her about being a prostitute," the report reads. "Burgess showed the victim her advertisements on the Internet and the victim stated that Burgess was not wearing any clothes."

Investigators say Henderson tried to pick the victim up from school on Feb. 1, but she didn't want to go. The teenager contacted authorities and told officers she believed Henderson was trying to take her to Sacramento.

Bakersfield Police say Henderson was found in Sacramento and taken into custody on a warrant issued by the Kern County District Attorney's Office. Officers say the investigation is still underway, and additional charges are pending.

BPD spokeswoman Michaela Beard could not provide any details about two other alleged victims, except that they are adults, not juveniles.

During their investigation, officers say they determined that Vannessa Burgess was working as a prostitute, and they believe Henderson is her "pimp."

Henderson now faces a felony charge of human trafficking of a minor, and a felony charge of attempted pandering with a minor under the age of 16. He's is set to be in court on Tuesday.