Late Thursday night, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Investigators were made aware that a 23-year-old woman who had been reported missing from Coweta, Oklahoma on December 6th, may be in the area.
Detectives located the woman at an area Gentlemen’s Club, where she had been reportedly driven by a Tulsa man who had physically beat her, forced her to dance for money which he took and had been preventing her from leaving or contacting her family.
“The man who is suspected of repeatedly and violently hurting this woman before transporting her across state lines for the purposes of making him money, has a violent past including a conviction of Shooting with Intent to Kill in Oklahoma,” according to Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.
“I’m thankful our investigators were able to remove the woman from this situation, get her back to her family, and apprehend the suspect without incident.”
Gary Ballard, 29, of Tulsa, is being held in the Cherokee County Jail on allegations of Aggravated Human Trafficking and Aggravated Kidnapping. His bond has been set at $200,000.00.
“This case illustrates the importance for people to know there are resources available to help get them out of dangerous, violent or abusive relationships and situations,” added Sheriff Groves.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888 and the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.