Man arrested in human trafficking case involving runaway teen

Authorities are investigating whether a 16-year-old runaway from a group home is a victim of human trafficking and sex crimes, Wichita police said Tuesday.

A 25-year-old Wichita man has been booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of aggravated human trafficking, rape, promoting prostitution, aggravated criminal sodomy and a probation violation, jail records show. The man, who has not been charged, was being held on a $500,000 bond.

The victim reported that the suspect raped her and forced her to “perform acts of prostitution,” a police report said.

Investigators also are investigating whether there could be other suspects or alleged victims in the case, said Lt. Jeff Weible, head of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit.

The investigation began a few days ago when police responded to a report of a shoplifting at a Walmart in which the 16-year-old was a suspect, said Wichita police spokesman Lt. Doug Nolte. That initial investigation led to allegations that the 16-year-old, who ran away from a state placement, had been involved in sex against her will, Nolte said. Those allegations led to the arrest of the 25-year-old man, who according to records was arrested Monday on South Broadway.

Court records show that the suspect is on probation for felony theft.