WICHITA, Kan. — Charges have been dropped against two people accused of trafficking teenage girls for prostitution.
Monday morning as jury selection for a trial was set to begin, charges against Daniel Tucker and Shawtaya Shaffer were dismissed without prejudice. That means charges can be re-filed at a later date.
The district attorney's office said the case was dismissed due to witness unavailability.
Previous story - Tuesday, July 23, 2013:
Two people accused of trafficking teenage girls for prostitution have made their first appearance in court.
Daniel Lee-Duran Tucker and Shawtaya Laquisha Shaffer are charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Human Trafficking. Wichita Police say the two are accused of pimping three runaway teens out of a Wichita motel room.
Wichita police say they picked up a 17-year-old runaway girl from out of state Thursday afternoon. She then told investigators the story.
“She reported there were two individuals that were staying at a motel on North Broadway and they were pimping out her and other young girls,” said Lt. Jeff Weible of the Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit.
Officers discovered another 17-year-old from out of state and a 16-year-old from Wichita and took them to safety.
Twenty-three-year-old Shawntaya Shaffer and 26-year-old Daniel Tucker were advertising the girls on the Internet: sex for money.
“Not only were they arranging for dates with the johns, they were performing outcalls through other locations,” Weible said.
The motel owner says what happened is tragic, and he has a no tolerance policy. He hopes this never happens again.
“I definitely feel sorry for their family,” Phakta said. “If they have a family, they need to take care of their children.”
Police say the human trafficking was going on for at least a week. In the meantime, the teens are being reunited with their families.
Both Tucker and Shaffer are still being held on $100,000 bond. Tucker is also being held on a $100,000 bond for probation violations among other charges. In 2009, he served time in the Kansas Department of Corrections on drug charges.
The owner of the Sunflower Inn on North Broadway found room number 161 just as it was left: shoes, clothes, cigarettes and other personal items inside. On Thursday afternoon, police rescued the teen runaways and arrested the couple staying in the room.
“This is the first time that I have heard some minors could be involved in this,” said Sunflower Inn owner Dipak Phakta.