Authorities say a truck driver from Utah kept women as slaves in his truck trailer for months while he was on the road.
The details of the crimes are especially horrific. Police say Timothy Jay Vafeades filed down their teeth, forced them to change their appearance and beat them severely. He kidnapped a 19-year-old girl who was a relative of his, torturing her for more than half a year, according to the Associated Press:
[S]he later told authorities that he strangled her until she blacked out and used threats and violence to keep her with him for the next six months while they traveled to Washington state, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and other states. Despite her pleas, Vafeades forced the teenager to have sex with him more than 100 times during their time together, a criminal complaint states. He chipped down the girl's teeth and had her wear a fake set, and wore his own false set that featured vampire fangs, the teen told investigators.
Police first encountered the girl at a weigh station in Clay County, Minnesota, where they noticed bruises on her. Upon investigating, they discovered at 1999 restraining order barring Vafeades from contacting her, and he was subsequently arrested. (The cop who spotted that girl and dug deeper to find out what was going is a hero. God knows what pain and torture he or she saved this girl from.)
That's when a second woman came forward and contacted police with her story:
The woman told detectives she met the driver at a Salt Lake City truck stop in April 2012. She agreed to have dinner with him and got into his truck, according to the report, but Vafeades told her about 10 minutes into the ride that she was going with him for a week or more. The woman said Vafeades kept her with him for about three months through threats and violence, forcing her to have sex with him nearly every day and calling her his slave, authorities said.
She said he had her hair cut and colored to disguise her identity and forced her to marry him.
The story is beyond awful. But Vafeades is in custody now, facing a variety of federal charges. He also faces state charges in Minnesota:
Vafeades, 54, made an initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fargo, N.D., and will now be transferred to Utah for further proceedings. The charges against him include kidnapping, transportation for illegal sexual activity, and possession of child pornography, and could bring a life sentence if he is convicted. His public defender, Richard Henderson, could not be reached for comment.
Image via AP Images.