Two suspects face human trafficking charges

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Rusk County Sheriff's Office arrested two Henderson men on suspicion of human trafficking and controlled substance possession, according to a press release sent out Monday by Lt. L.D. Summers.

A controlled substance/human trafficking warrant was executed Dec. 6 at the residence of 28-year-old Kendrick Davis, 5394 Hwy. 64 in Henderson. During a search of the property, law enforcement seized a .38 caliber revolver found in Davis' bedroom. Officers also seized a substance believed to be methamphetamine and discovered evidence suggesting human trafficking had occurred at the residence.

Davis was arrested and is being held in the Rusk County Jail on a $2.6 million bond set by Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Joe Sorrells. After his arrest, Davis was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of human trafficking, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of aggravated assault.

Information gained during the execution of the warrant led officers to arrest 43-year-old Charles Starling, Jr. Charged with two counts of human trafficking, Starling is also being held in the Rusk County Jail on a $1 million bond.

A probable cause affidavit for Davis' arrest indicates a 26-year-old female was found inside the residence when the search warrant was executed. According to the affidavit, the female was found with multiple injuries to her face, torso, arms and legs consistent with being assaulted. She indicated to investigators Davis was responsible for her injuries.

Investigators allege Davis assaulted the female on multiple occasions, fracturing her nose and orbital socket in three places. On Dec. 5, the female used Davis' phone to text her mother while Davis was sleeping, telling her mother she needed help to escape from Davis and was afraid he would kill her. Davis awoke and discovered the woman texting for help and, as punishment, used a foreign object to commit an act of aggravated sexual assault against her.

Investigators also believe Davis sexually assaulted another female on multiple occasions. Sometime during the first week of December, Davis sexually assaulted this woman, the sheriff’s office maintains, and threatened her with death or serious bodily injury. Investigators found visible injuries over the entirety of the woman's body and photographed the injuries as evidence.

Investigators also allege Davis facilitated a sexual encounter between a 12-year-old male and the 26-year-old female. Davis, investigators say, forced the 26-year-old woman and another woman to engage in sexual intercourse with individuals for money, which Davis kept.

Starling was also charged with facilitating paid sexual intercourse with the 26-year-old woman. Starling's probable cause affidavit alleges Starling accepted money from individuals who had intercourse with the 26-year-old woman while she was harbored in Starling's home, threatened and physically struck the woman to force her to remain in his home and tracked the amount of time patrons spent with the woman after paying for sexual services. Investigators also say Starling had engaged in all of these actions with another woman while she was forced to stay in his home.

Both Davis and Starling have extensive criminal histories in Rusk County, including previous charges for violent acts.

Rusk County Sheriff's Office representative Sgt. David Roberts was unable to provide information on what initially led to the warrant being served for Davis and Starling because it is still an ongoing investigation. However, he did say the women who were being trafficked are now being taken care of.

According to the press release, the sheriff's office anticipates additional arrests being made as this case is investigated further.

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