HOUSTON – A man who investigators said kidnapped a teen girl and locked her inside a storage unit for days while sexually assaulting her has been arrested.
Joel Micah Arnold, 34, has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault and trafficking of a child.
“It’s something that’s got to be a nightmare to any family,” said Constable Alan Rosen, of Harris County Precinct 1 Office.
Investigators said the 17-year-old girl and the suspect knew each other but were unsure on the extent of the relationship. The teen made a report of sexual assault to the department’s human trafficking unit on April 8. Investigators said they believe that Arnold sent the 17-year old a message on Instagram threatening to harm her sister if she did get in his car when he went by her house.
According to authorities the girl was taken to a storage facility located in the 19100 block of FM 529 in Cypress. Investigators said the girl was locked inside the unit for five days.
The victims mothers filed a missing person’s report on March 27th the very same day she was taken by Arnold.
The girl said Arnold held her against her will with a gun, forcibly injected her with drugs and sexually assaulted her while she was held captive, according to investigators. She said Arnold eventually let her go, according to investigators.
Arnold was arrested Wednesday.
“My wife is pregnant with my little girl, imagine if that was my daughter. Man, I was not expecting that at all from this neighborhood,” said a neighbor Luis Salinas.
Investigators said they believe there could be other victims who have been assaulted by Arnold.
“Anybody that takes advantage of a child like this, I want to make sure that they get brought to justice,” Rosen said.
Children at Risk, a research and advocacy group for children, said human and child trafficking in Texas is a primary focus.
“I think all of us right or worried that these types of instances could happen to us or to our children,” said Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk.
Sanborn said cases like these are a painful reminder that parents can never be too cautious.
“I hate to be able to tell parents to watch out and continue to watch out, but when you see these instances you have to do that we have to watch out for our kids,” Sanborn said.
Arnold’s bond was set at $300,000 by a judge Friday.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Harris County Precinct 1 human trafficking hotline at 832-927-1650.