Woman Scaled Fence to Escape Sex Traffickers on S. Side, Prosecutors Say
COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Minnesota woman kidnapped by sex traffickers scaled a locked fence on the South Side and made a run for the police station, prosecutors said.
The 18-year-old woman recently made her escape from a home in the 4300 block of South Berkeley Avenue after two brothers tried to force her into sexual servitude, prosecutors said.
One of those two men, Myrelle Lockett, stood before a Cook County judge Tuesday, charged with trafficking, kidnapping and "secretly confining" the woman for the purposes of involuntary servitude.
"You are an imminent danger to every young lady," said Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr., ordering Lockett held without bail.
Lockett, 20, met the woman on social media and arranged to meet her "under false pretenses," said Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti. He and Tyrelle Lockett, his twin brother and co-defendant, drove to Minnesota to find her, Antonietti said.
Reached Tuesday by phone, the victim said she didn't realize how serious her situation was until she arrived in Chicago early Friday morning after a six-hour drive with the two men.
When they arrived, Lockett told the woman "she was going to Chicago to be his bitch," Antonietti said.
"I just wanted to go home," the woman said. "It wasn't just me I was worried about; I'm pregnant."
Fearing she would be beaten, the woman "played along" until she found her chance to escape early Sunday morning, she said.
The woman wasn't interested in being a prostitute, but was afraid to resist because Lockett and his co-defendant are "big guys," Antonietti said. She also witnessed the co-defendant beat his girlfriend, Antonietti said.
When neither men were looking, she was able to send a text message to Minnesota, where police started looking for her, Antonietti said.
The men brought the woman to their father's house in Chicago's North Kenwood neighborhood, prosecutors said. The father, Nathan Nicholson, has a pending indictment against him for promotion of prostitution, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
At the house, when an opportunity to escape presented itself, the woman fled, Antonietti said. She scaled a locked fence outside the house and made her way to a police station.
The defendants planned to "sell her body" and keep the proceeds, Antonietti said.
But luckily, said the victim, "It never came to that."
Lockett was arrested shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday when police pulled him over in a silver Chrysler sedan. The vehicle, which fit a description given by the victim, had a headlight out.
A relative of Lockett in court on Tuesday for his bond hearing said Lockett was not guilty of the charges against him.
Myrelle Lockett, of south suburban Dolton, already has served time in prison for sex trafficking. He pleaded guilty to the charge in February 2011 and was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The twin brother's conviction marked the first event under the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative, according to a news release issued by the prosecutors's office Wednesday morning.
A Department of Corrections spokesman confirmed that Lockett was released on parole about five months after completing a boot camp program that can significantly reduce the amount of time inmates spend behind bars.
Having believed Myrelle Lockett to be her friend, the victim in the new case had a warning for other young women.
"Don't believe everything people say on social media," she said.