On Saturday, March 7, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into a kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment case which uncovered a local human trafficking group.
At approximately 11:30 am, the Sheriff ”˜s Office was notified that a “distraught female” had flagged down a motorist on NE Bascom Norris Rd at NE Derby Place telling the motorist that she had been kidnapped, beaten and raped.
The victim was identified as a missing person that CCSO detectives had been actively looking for since her family reported her missing on March 5.
Detectives responded and assumed the investigation from the patrol deputies. It was determined that the victim had borrowed a relative’s car on March 3 to help a friend move. When the victim did not return, which was out of character, the relative reported her missing and the car stolen. The Sheriff’s Office initiated a missing person’s investigation and entered the victim and car in the local, state and federal databases.
The victim told the detectives that while helping a friend, she was abducted by three black males and taken to a home in the area where she was found. She stated that she was beaten and raped by suspects during her captivity and that Saturday morning she was able to escape.
Later, Saturday March 7, Baker County Sheriff’s Office advised they had located the stolen car and arrested three males. CCSO Detectives went to Baker County Criminal Investigations Division to interview the subjects. Late Sunday night and into early Monday morning, CCSO executed a search warrant on 552 Granger Mill Ave.
During the search, James Lauvalle Harris, 20 was located at the home. Harris was identified as one of the suspects that abducted the victim. Harris was arrested for kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual battery, theft, and public order crime (maintaining home for illegal activities). He is being held in the Columbia County Detention Facility with a total bond of $325,000.
Additional arrests are forthcoming as this investigation continues.