On March 9, 2018 at 8:10am, Medford Police received a report from a mother in California indicating her 20 year old daughter was being held against her will at an unknown location in Medford. Information indicated that the female victim was sending text messages to a male in California who was relaying the information to victim's mother. The victim was frightened and unable to escape.
We learned the victim was either in a house or a vehicle, with Texas license plates, in the area of East 9th Street and Cottage Street. Officers responded to the area and at approximately 8:50am, they located a white Ford Fusion with Texas plates in the 700 block of East 9th Street. Officers discovered the female victim in the passenger seat of the vehicle with an uncooperative male, identified as 45 year old Lemarr Mitchell, in the driver's seat.
The victim safely exited the vehicle, however, Mitchell refused commands to exit. Medford Police Detectives responded to interview the victim on scene and were able to establish crimes for which Mitchell would be arrested.
Officers and negotiators continued to communicate with Mitchell by PA and over the phone. He continued to be uncooperative and refused to exit the vehicle, which had dark tinted windows and made it nearly impossible to see inside. Concerned that Mitchell may be armed with a weapon, members of the Medford Police SWAT team, who are trained in High Risk Vehicle Extraction, responded to the scene.
Negotiations continued with Mitchell for over an hour and he refused to surrender. The SWAT team utilized a diversionary device and were able to successfully remove Mitchell from the vehicle and take him into custody. Mitchell was uninjured during the extraction, however he was medically cleared at a local hospital after telling detectives he had ingested illegal narcotics and Marijuana.
Based on the investigation, it is believed the victim was Sex Trafficked in numerous states. Mitchell has been lodged at the Jackson County Jail on charges of Promoting Prostitution, Compelling Prostitution, and Trafficking in Persons.
An Advocate from the Rebecca Bender Initiative was summoned and has been with the victim providing support. For more information on the Rebecca Bender Initiative please visit the website at www.rebeccabender.org.