Kristi Deann Merrill Rescued from Human Trafficking Ring
Kristi’s mother, Bryn Barton, confirmed that her daughter had been the victim of a sex trafficking ring and was safely extracted on July 30 with the help of Run 2 Rescue http://www.run2rescue.com/ , a Christian organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating human trafficking victims. Kristi was a Union Mine High School cheerleader and a community volunteer.
Cris Alarcon, Placerville Newswire, Aug 3, 2012
From Facebook: "Hello FB friends and famiily . . . continued running around and a little crazy, but first we have to finally come out and say thank you to http://www.run2rescue.com/ for our daughter being alive and safe. What amazing people. We are prepared to make a statement, forgive me I know I've said it prior but things have um, thrown me off track, but likely keep your eye out for Friday late afternoon? Or Saturday mid-morning. Hearing all good things for Kristi's well being and peace of mind at this time, she is courageous beyond what most of us can ever fathom, I am so tired but wanted to tell you all I love you and have no way to thank you, we have a long way to go but God is mighty to save."
Shannon Forsythe of Run 2 Rescue confirmed Merrill was rescued at 12:45 a.m. July 30, with private investigator Michelle Wishart being credited with physically getting Merrill into one of the organization’s cars and rescuing her. Forsythe said Merrill is “doing great.” She added, “She’s doing really good. We’ll continue working with her long term.” Forsythe compared what Merrill is going through to PTSD, but “it goes even deeper than PTSD. We don’t have terminology for that kind of trauma.” She said it will likely take at least a year for Merrill’s life to return to a semblance of normalcy. “We have to untangle all that.” Kristi Merrill has strong ties to El Dorado County.
Kristi Deann Merrill, 25, disappeared on March 23, 2012 where she left the Carmichael area stating she would be home at eleven but never returned, vanishing into the dark.
Kristi Merrill left from her home in Carmichael, CA/the home of her mother Bryn Barton on March 23 and said she would be back by 11 p.m. She was to return after a leave to complete Paul Mitchell School which was paid for in full as was daycare the following Tuesday and was excited about it. She was looking forward to being out of the house, making new friends and being a Mom who could support her daughter. She had all her uniforms washed, checks in a folder ready to go. No indication or events leading up to her not wanting to return to her family and baby girl.
Barton, who works for the California Department of Justice, is still waiting for her return, even as the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office says the case is closed.
A missing person report was posted for Merrill, 25, on the DOJ website but the page no longer exists. Sheriff's deputies also consider the case closed as they say they made contact with Merrill over the phone. If the Sheriff won't link the case the DOJ's hands are tied, they cannot add a missing person to their site without a case number and open case.
But Barton said she's not comfortable with their identification over the phone, that her daughter is not taking medications she was prescribed by her doctor and tips indicated she may be trafficked for sex, tips SAC County Sheriff never followed up on after talking to "a girl on a phone that was not Kristi's number."
"I don't understand why they would identify someone over the phone without physically seeing them in person; anybody could have been on the line," said Barton, who is exploring her options to file a complaint against law enforcement officials. "She may be an adult but she has been diagnosed as having mental health issues." Also when/if being trafficked, victims will often if not always say under threat, that they are fine and do not need any assistance as it could cost them their life to speak out. A missing piece that seems to have escaped the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said they have exhausted all resources.
"She is an adult and can leave home without telling anyone," Dep. Jason Ramos said. "I can't disclose the circumstances of why we're not pursuing case; she's entitled to privacy rights and there's no suspicion of foul play."
No suspicion of foul play? Kristi's car, without her in it, has in fact been pulled over twice in two surrounding counties with a 60+ year old male and other males in the car. If she's out by choice having the time of her life, where is she in all these car stops? Certainly not in her own car and not answering via her OWN PHONE.
In Yolo County, CA the driver had no license, was not detained but only cited with a mere ticket when there was a missing person's tag on Kristi's car. They allowed the passenger of her car to instead, drive Kristi's car away after allowing the man with no license to call an unidentifiable female on a blocked phone, again not Kristi's phone where that female was stated to be Kristi saying she was fine and they just let these men, and the car go. One person we questioned at the Department stated that there were traces of crack cocaine on the floor but they felt not enough to test. Are these police? Later a Sgt. called back and said he didn't know where that idea came from and it wasn't going to be in any report. Something smells funny here.
A secondary car stop was make in Rocklin, CA, again all males driving the car, again allowed to make the final phone call that would kill Kristi's case. They allowed the men to make a call again to an unidentifable female stating she was Kristi and that she was fine. They were let go, to drive away Kristi's car, which later lead to Sacramento County Sheriff closing the case based off of that call.
Finally when Kristi's father was taking his daughter for treatment at a Sacramento Hospital, they both physically saw the car, and an older man driving it, called the police and tried to follow it, however City Police never got out in time to find the car, it got away.
In the initial stages we walked and walked the Sacramento area with pictures of Kristi, a man said he identified Kristi from a hotel and that an older man (60+) was calling her the flavor of the week on the street. Sacremento County did not follow up. Another A.M. P.M. Gas Station Manager said she had come in for about two weeks but only late at night and only with an older man hovering over her where she could not be alone. Similarly girls called in to the Sheriff stating they were in a bar and a girl fitting Kristi's desciption was trying to sit with them and act like they were friends, an older man sat close by watching Kristi, the girls got scared of the older man who was stated to look "evil" left and called the police, no tip followed up on, even the name of the bar was given. This is not justice.
Finally a friend of Kristi's texted a friend of Kristi's saying he was afraid to get involved but that he had heard an older man was pimping her out at the Du Mont Hotel in Sacramento. City Police went and talked to them but never again followed up.
To me, two car stops with men in the car calling a blocked phone to an unidentifiable female or a female saying she was fine possibly under threat, makes for foul play. The tips are frightening. There is no reason anyone should believe that is not a HUGE REG FLAG. Where is Kristi during these stops and who is the female on the phone that does not belong to Kristi? To hear your daughter is called by a 60+ year old man as flavor of the week is enough to bring you to your knees in pain and terror.
We won't ever know unless they re-open the case. This is why signing the Petition is so important, would you accept a phone call as a verifable method of verifying your child was okay? Anyone could have her information from her wallet which was with her and answer their useless questions to verify. Have they not considered that people have access to all her information if that female was even her? Shame on them and their blaming of everything on budget constraints, and that these are voluntary missing adults, with so many tips not backing the theory that they are voluntary, we say find them, these are human beings. *Note-in saying we, we refer to Kristi Merrill and Linnea Lomax, who the Sacramento County also closed the case on and whose cause we support as well.
The assigned Sgt. to the case was advised there was a phone contact he could call that had recently been talking to Kristi, that they may know circumstances about the Du Mont hotel issue, they did not follow up on that lead. We will be doing so shortly. Please find on our page, MYTH, THEY CAN LEAVE ANYTIME THEY WANT.
"We were able to definitively establish that it was, in fact, Kristy (sic) Merrill that we had phone contact with," Ramos wrote in an emailed statement.
That was their statement, their incorrect spelling of her name only enhanced my confidence in them. How does one do that, identify via phone? It is lazy police work.
Barton has been granted temporary guardianship of her grandaughter Adisyn, 18 months and recently was advised the Court Investigator was recommending granting permanent guardianship this month, July.
"I'm a mother with a year and a half-old granddaughter who is waiting to hear when her mother will be home," she said. "If I didn't have amazing people in Carmichael and El Dorado County, I don't know what I'd do."
Ramos said he believes the Sheriff's Department has done its due diligence. Well in response to Ramos, I used to work cases in elder and child abuse, I was not born yesterday, my daughter and I had no secrets, so Ramos and I share a different view of that concept.
"If Kristy (sic) did have mental health issues, that could conceivably make her fit the 'at-risk' category of missing persons, in which case we would certainly take certain investigative steps that we don’t necessarily do in other cases," Ramos wrote via email. She IS in that at risk category, she's not been verified as seeing any of her two doctors or specialist since missing.
Kristi had three doctor's overseeing her this last year and was doing well but still monitored and on medications. Am I missing something besides my daughter? Like where Ramos decides this does not meet the mental health standard?
"The protocol in our Operations Order for missing persons allows for someone to be categorized at-risk if they are mentally impaired or developmentally disabled," Ramos continued. "However, the mental capacity of the person must be considered when assessing the risk, so each instance is considered on a case-by-case basis." Well I guess you'd have to first keep cases open and investigate them to decide on a case by case basis, but that's just my assessment.
Barton said her daughter had been depressed in recent years, having lost a male friend who she was very close to who was killed while serving in the military in Iraq and later, a close friend, once boyfriend, to suicide.
"She gave no indication she wasn't coming back," Barton said. "She was to attend the Paul Mitchell School." She's obviously not been locked in the house this last year and has left before, sometimes coming home late, but she would call and she was late or doing her own thing, not FOUR MONTHS late and without her own car, phone and men driving her call in surrounding counties w/out a trace of her.
"My saving grace has been the people in Carmichael and El Dorado County. "I'm blessed by Christ Community Church, my co-employees, and new friends I meet every day who love a daughter they don't even know.