Six men and one woman were arrested in Florida for allegedly luring two teenage boys to a trailer — where one of the teens was used as a “sex slave” for a year, Florida authorities announced Monday.
The St. Petersburg Police Department began a monthslong human trafficking investigation last May when they were informed that a missing 17-year-old boy from Louisiana was found at a mobile home in St. Petersburg.
Police believe that the defendants lured the boy through Discord, an online gaming platform that lets users chat directly with each other. They allegedly used Discord to coordinate picking the teen up and driving him to their trailer in St. Petersburg.
When officers arrived at the trailer, they found the Louisiana teen and another 16-year-old boy who had been reported missing from Marion County for nearly a year.
The two boys were living in the trailer with four men — Mark Earl Dennis, 52, Andrew Barry Dennis, 45, Curtis Lee Gruwell, 34, and Michael Wayne Schwartz, 51.
Police said that Mark Dennis falsely claimed to be the 16-year-old boy’s biological father. Authorities removed the two boys from the home.
Investigators believe that in April 2017, the teen from Marion County had expressed unhappiness at his home to a family acquaintance, Eleanor Faye McGlamory.
McGlamory, 56, befriended the then–15-year-old boy and introduced him to two of her friends, Mark Dennis and Andrew Dennis. Several weeks later, the two men picked the boy up and took him to their trailer. The teen’s mother reported him missing after she found a note from her son telling her he was gone and not to look for him.
The defendants had allegedly lured the boy away from his family “with the promise of a better life,” authorities said. Instead, he was made to live with four men in the “filthy trailer” that was covered in animal feces.
For the next year, the teen was “introduced to sadomasochism and used as a sex slave” by the four men and their associates, Michael Ray Blasdel, 36, and JR Gauthier, 29, according to police.
During this time, the boy did not attend school or receive medical care, authorities said.
After police arrived at their mobile home in May 2018, the four men moved from St. Petersburg to Lehigh Acres in Lee County. With the help of other law enforcement agencies, St. Petersburg police arrested six of the seven suspects, including the woman, on Monday. Gruwell turned himself in to police Tuesday morning.
Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Schwartz, Blasdel, Gauthier, and McGlamory are charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Blasdel, and Gauthier are also charged with sexual battery with a child under 16.
Police said that the 16-year-old victim is “is receiving specialized trauma-informed care designed for victims of human trafficking and is thriving.”