SAGINAW (WJRT) - (03/15/17) - A husband and wife have been arrested, accused of human trafficking a young girl.
The Saginaw County couple is in jail, but the sheriff worries they may have preyed on more than just the one 17-year-old girl.
This case developed in February, when the sheriff's department got a tip from someone that believed a teenager may be in danger.
That tip lead the sheriff's department to a hotel in Saginaw Township.
“Within three hours of receiving the tip, we actually found the minor child in a hotel room in Saginaw County and pulled her out of that situation,” said Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel.
Federspiel says investigators have been working on this case since and arrested 56-year-old Melvin Pully and his wife, 37-year-old Meleney Pully, both of Saginaw, who were with the teenage girl in the hotel room in February.
“They gained her trust during her status as a runaway and then exploited her by prostituting her out for sexual activity and utilizing that money to further their drug habits,” Federspiel said.
Both were arraigned Wednesday on human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual activity. Both are being held on separate $250,000 cash bonds.
Federspiel says the teenage girl is now back with her biological mother.
The Pullys were arrested at the Miller Motel in Bridgeport Township. They were charged just hours before Melissa Steiner of Underground Railroad in Saginaw was giving a presentation to hotel workers on the warning signs that human trafficking could be taking place at their businesses.
“Our runaway youth, there is something big that we working, talking, working with,” Steiner said.
The sheriff says the investigation continues and there could be more arrests. He believes there could be other victims.
“We do know there were other individuals, other females out there that were either lured or utilized by these individuals to perform the same type of acts,” he said.
The Pullys face 20 years in prison if convicted.