Thanks to a former prostitute and a worried and resourceful mother in Connecticut, the NYPD rescued a missing 17-year-old girl in East Harlem on Thursday.
The girl's mother called 911 around 11:27 a.m. on Thursday and told them she suspected her daughter was being held against her will with two other women at 1695 Madison Ave., cops said. She told them she believed her daughter's abductor was a pimp.
According to a law enforcement source, one of the other women in the apartment wanted to leave, and a former prostitute helped her. The two of them stayed in a motel in Long Island for four days, and then decided to go to the 17-year-old's mother's house to tell her where her daughter was. When they told the mother the address, as well as the names of everyone involved, including the pimp, the mother called the FBI office in Connecticut.
The Connecticut FBI office, alarmed for the mother's safety as she informed them she was already in New York City and headed to the location, advised her to call 911, they said.
When NYPD officers arrived at the Madison Avenue address, the mother and the two other women identified the suspected pimp standing outside the building.
Officers searched and questioned the suspect, ultimately arresting him. They found the missing girl and two other women, 21 and 24 years old, in an apartment inside the building, cops said.
They also reportedly found the 24-year-old's two children in the apartment. Police said children were 4 years old and 2 months old.
The suspected pimp was named as 35-year-old Taye Elleby. Police say they determined in interviews with him that he forced at least one of the women into prostitution using intimidation and physical abuse, and kept the proceeds from her activities.
The three victims reportedly told police that Elleby was their pimp and set up "dates" for them through the website Backpage.com, cops said.
A law enforcement source noted that the women all had keys to the apartment and cell phones, and appeared to have had ample opportunity to escape if they wished. Still, while none of the victims appears to have been kept against her will, cops believe intimidation and physical abuse were used to force them into prostitution.
A law enforcement source said the 17-year-old girl was introduced to her abductor by her father.
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