A missing North Carolina girl has been found in Texas by police after allegedly having been handed off to human traffickers by her mother, authorities said.
Four-year-old Aubriana Recinos, and her mother, 23-year-old Carmen Lowe, disappeared in May but were officially reported missing on July 8.
Ramirez said the toddler was found at a house in Texas with individuals “involved in human trafficking activities.”
“The child was pretty much given to a pimp, an associate of a pimp or family of the pimp for keeping,” said Fayetteville police Maj. Robert Ramirez told WNCN. “The individuals involved are not cooperating.”
“It is a ring, it’s a human trafficking ring that the FBI was investigating and these individuals have other children as well,” he added.
PLEASE SHARE: Police say Carmen Lowe was served a warrant for felony custody order violation and was arrested Thursday in New Orleans. Lowe’s daughter, Aubriana Recinos, 4, is believed to be endangered and her whereabouts are currently unknown. https://t.co/bcffmgP0l5
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) August 2, 2019
Police said Lowe was part of a human trafficking operation already being investigated by the FBI, reported FOX8.
According to information obtained by police, Lowe is believed to have taken her daughter to New Jersey and Louisiana, and possibly Texas—violating a custody order issues by a Cumberland County judge.
According to authorities, Aubriana was found safe in a house in Lewisville, Texas, and was not harmed while being held.
FBI and the Lewisville Police Department worked together to rescue the young girl from the premises.
| Endangered Missing Child |
Aubriana Recinos (4 years of age), may be endangered and her whereabouts are currently unknown. Her mother, Carmen Lowe, was taken into custody by the FBI in Louisiana.
— Fayetteville Police (@FayettevillePD) August 2, 2019
After missing for months, the girl was reunited with her father, Mario Recinos, in Texas reported CBS17.
“Going on 53 days, it’s been hard,” said Recinos. “We didn’t know where she was at.”
“Prayers have been answered completely, beyond answered,” he added.
Lowe was arrested in New Orleans on Thursday, Aug. 1, after being served a warrant for felony custody order violation.
Legal records indicate Lowe has been charged with prostitution, theft under $1,000, as well as having an out of state warrant.
She is currently being held in the Orleans Parish Jail and authorities said the investigation is ongoing.
“The Fayetteville Police Department thanks the FBI and the Lewisville, Texas Police Department for their assistance with this investigation,” said police in a news release.
“The Fayetteville Police Department also extends thanks to everyone who shared the endangered missing child information and media outlets,” the news release continued.
#UPDATE: Missing North Carolina 4-year-old Aubriana Recinos found safe in Lewisville in home involved in human trafficking, police say. Mother arrested: https://t.co/EXuSDfKOqK pic.twitter.com/cI32mZEtp1
— CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) August 2, 2019
Human Trafficking in Texas
Texas was ranked first in the nation in 2018 for the number of active criminal human trafficking cases making their way through the federal court system, according to a report (pdf) recently released by the Human Trafficking Institute. Federal courts convicted 45 defendants in the state last year.
There were 74 active cases in the state, including 68 involving sex trafficking, the institute stated. Texas also ranked first in the country, along with New York, with 19 new criminal human trafficking cases; the national average was five per state.
Nationally, there were 171 new cases, 297 new defendants, and 346 convictions.
The convictions leveled 135 months in prison per defendant on average. Cases took on average 26 months to resolve.
While most criminal cases involved sex trafficking, most civil cases involved labor trafficking.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.