Police: Bakersfield girl forced into prostitution in Nevada

Police: Bakersfield girl forced into prostitution in Nevada
Vernon McCullum III, 19, of Reno, Nev., is seen in a Washoe County Sheriff's Office booking photo. McCullum is accused of forcing a Bakersfield girl into prostitution in Reno.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Police are looking for a suspect and information in a case of alleged kidnapping and sexual human trafficking.

A female juvenile from Bakersfield was allegedly assaulted, kidnapped and forced into prostitution this month in Reno, Nev., police said.

The girl - police didn't say how old she is - left home and came in contact with the suspects Jan. 8 at a market on Brundage Lane, according to police. Shanell Smith, 19, of Reno, allegedly lured the girl to a vehicle with 19-year-old Vernon McCullum III, also of Reno. The three went to a local motel, and the girl had sex with McCullum, police said.

The next day, Smith and McCullum allegedly drove the girl to Tulare County against her will. The girl was allegedly physically threatened and restrained when she tried to escape.

The girl was then driven to a motel in Reno, where she was forced into prostitution, police said. She also was allegedly forced to pose for nude photographs.

McCullum was arrested and booked Tuesday by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office in Reno. Bakersfield police didn't say how McCullum was captured.

Smith remains on the loose.

McCullum is accused of human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal threats, unlawful sexual intercourse, conspiracy and publishing child pornography.

Anyone with information helpful to the investigation is asked to call Bakersfield Detective Gary Carruesco at (661) 326-3544.